Geopolitical Challenges and Opportunities for India in 2023


Geopolitical Challenges and Opportunities for India in 2023

Agreements with India, challenges, and opportunities for India. 

For Prelims: Agreements with India, challenges, and opportunities for India. 

For Mains: Ukraine-Russia, Sri Lanka Crisis, issues of Nepal, and factors affecting India's interests.

What social problems existed in India in 2022?

With improvements across many disciplines, Indian society has advanced over time. In every community, sociocultural problems need to be acknowledged and resolved.

Politically Relevant Current Social Issues in India in 2022: Casteism

Castes are rigid social groups that can even be oppressive, where lifestyle, employment, and social standing are passed down through the generations.

Dowry System: In India, the bride's family must pay the groom, his parents, and other relatives certain items as a condition of the marriage. These items can include money and tangible or intangible property.

Communalism is one of the social issues in India in 2022 because of the country's diversity in terms of religion and culture.


What were the most pressing issues in 2022?


  • Ukraine-Russian War:
    • The post-World War II global order has been upended by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has also affected global food and energy security and is driving the world economy into a recession.
    • Anxiety has been raised by the leaders of Russia's nuclear program and the strategic alliance between China and Russia.
  • China's Aggression: 
    • With a skirmish in Arunachal Pradesh following the clashes in 2020 Galwan that claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers, India is also dealing with this border aggression.
    • Recent activities in the South China Sea, where it has been seen building an island, demonstrate China's belligerence.
    • As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, China's aggression in the Indo-Pacific region has also come to light.
    • Engaging the Taliban
      • After the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan less than a year prior, India reopened its embassy in Kabul. It started the process of re-engaging by sending humanitarian aid in the form of food supplies, vaccines, and essential medications.
      • India has clearly stated its position on the threat of extremism, the rights of women and minorities, and women's equality. However, it has also hinted at a long-term commitment to Afghanistan's future.
        • In addition to its previous commitment of USD 3 billion over the past 20 years, India has pledged an additional USD 80 million to help Afghans.
      • This indicates that despite being influenced and even controlled by Pakistan's military establishment, India views the Taliban as a political actor.
  • A Crisis in the Neighborhood
    • The political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka posed a severe problem for the surrounding area. India contributed humanitarian aid, fuel, and medicines more than any other country in such a short time.
      • Along with this, India is assisting Lanka in securing an IMF economic debt relief package.
      • India wants a government aware of India's security and strategic interests because China is a rival in Sri Lanka.
    • Low-key visits and engagement are still helping the military junta regime in Myanmar.
      • The main outcomes have been the influx of refugees from Myanmar into the northeastern states via the porous borders and concern over non-state actors inciting unrest in the area.

What obstacles must India overcome in 2023?

China's aggression: The conflict in Ukraine has also caused attention to be drawn to China's aggression in the Indo-Pacific region. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan and Beijing's response highlighted China's actions.

Unrest in Pakistan: In May, the PML-N and Bhutto-Zardari's PPP formed a coalition led by Shehbaz Sharif after the Imran Khan-led PTI government was overthrown. Although there has been a slight decrease in the rhetoric directed at India, bilateral relations remain stagnant. 

Many believe that the appointment of Gen. Asim Munir as the new Army chief in Pakistan, where the military-intelligence establishment has a complete veto over foreign and defence matters, marks the real transition of power at the end of the year in the nation.

A major issue in the neighbourhood was the economic and political crisis in Sri Lanka. More than any other nation in such a short time, India loosened its purse strings and donated fuel, medicines, and humanitarian aid. 

India's capital, Delhi, is also assisting the island nation in securing an IMF package that will reduce its economic debt. Delhi wants a government aware of India's security and strategic interests because China is a rival in Sri Lanka.

Dealing with China: The clashes in Arunachal on December 9 have demonstrated that Beijing is questioning the status quo in additional areas along the 3,500 km border with India in addition to eastern Ladakh.

Russian engagement: India's strategic consideration of Russia has been made clear by the border standoff with China.

Despite diversification to include the US, France, and Israel, among others, Moscow has been a dependable supplier of defence equipment for the past 70 years and continues to be the industry leader. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has made this more challenging because it has raised concerns about the reliability of Russian equipment and put pressure on the supply chain.

Neighbourhood difficulty: In the coming year, New Delhi will be a topic of political discussion in the Maldives, while Sri Lanka will continue to demand India's humanitarian, financial, and political attention. Elections in the Maldives will take place in September, and an "India Out" campaign will likely spark heated political discussion. Delhi will keep a close eye on political parties' attempts to portray India as the bully and the big brother.

What prospects does India have for the year 2023?

G20 as a global stage: The G20 summit's hosting will be one of the most significant representations of India's rise on the international stage months before the General Elections in 2024.

Relationships with the West: Delhi will need to take steps to allay the worries of its European and American partners, given that India purchases cheap oil while refusing to stand with the West against Russia. The G20 preparations will provide some opportunities to do that.

Relation with Pakistan: Elections in Pakistan are scheduled for later in 2023, making that year a pivotal one. With Imran Khan holding sizable rallies on the one hand and Sharif-Bhutto-Zardari entering the elections with some degree of military support on the other, this will once again be a race to watch. 

The Army chief and the new civilian administration will shape their view of India. How the Pakistan puzzle is handled could be crucial to the relationship's future in India, where Lok Sabha elections are scheduled for 2024.


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