There will not be much regret with the passing of 2021. It was certainly not the way we expected it to be. But, will 2022 be better? The Omicron variant is the new threat to the world. It has spread to all the world’s major countries. Omicron is the latest mutant of Covid-19 after the Delta variant. The variant can be a hazard to the world.
The global economy that managed to survive in 2021 after the steep dip of 2022 is expected to get another blow. The economy is expected to take another major dip after the pandemic has severely affected Europe and the USA, which is now turning to Asian and African nations. A slight hope seems to have found its place as experts claim that the virus has lost its potency. Proof of this is the lower rates of hospitalization and deaths from the new variant Omicron. But, this is just a viewpoint and not a valid claim.
The pandemic has directed the world for the past 2 years. Every country has been equally destroyed by the threat of viruses. The western nations with highly advanced healthcare infrastructure and services have been devastated. There has been no hope for Asian and African nations with medium-to poor healthcare infrastructures. Overall, all the advanced to poor healthcare infrastructures in the world have been completely drained.
The world witnessed vaccine monopolization by the developed, liberal, and rich nations, which received an excess supply of vaccines for their citizens. The less-developed nations in Africa, Asia, and some parts of America did not even receive sufficient vaccine stock to fully vaccinate their citizens. They have been left to wait for the World Health Organization or Western nations to provide them with vaccines.
All the efforts to deal with Covid-19 received a setback with the spread of Omicron (first detected in Africa). The developed countries swiftly implemented a travel ban on 8 African nations. Many nations were put on high alert and new precautionary guidelines were introduced by various nations with immediate effect. In the present world, it is difficult to tackle and isolate the virus with travel bans.
The pandemic brought many lessons to the world and world leaders, but many failed to take them up. It was an opportunity for world leaders to come together to deal with the pandemic and its negative impacts on the economy. The contraction on-demand and disruption in supply chains from China have led to shortages in the manufacturing sector. It will take time to erect alternative supply chains to mend the issue. The countries are facing a serious challenge in the form of Covid-19, but the global rivalry continues.
The USA, also known as the superpower of the world, is competing for its position with China. However, China lags in a few aspects that can be overcome in 2022. The US-China rivalry can continue to make things difficult for the rest of the world.
In the past, the world saw the Soviet Union and the USA sharing the status of superpowers. At present, Russia has a strong military and nuclear power. But it’s not a major economic power like China. The breakdown of the supply chain is already a serious issue. For Russia, the presence of its troops has increased on the Ukraine border, which has increased fears of a Russian takeover. The US and NATO nations have been firm against Russia.
What is the position of India in these changing dynamics at the global level? India has strong and cordial relations with both Russia and the USA. Until now, PM Modi has maintained a balance in relations with both countries. The US wants India to be its Asian ally in countering China. But, India is also a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a group that includes China and Russia.
Traditionally, India has been a long-time ally of Russia, and it does not want to abandon cordial relations. It has managed to keep the relationships going so far. But, how long can it continue? China is a concern for India. There is rising border tension with the army stand-off. Also, China is trying to claim certain regions of India’s Arunachal Pradesh. It seems complicated to resolve border issues with China.
PM Narendra Modi has managed to continue his foreign policy constructively, strengthening ties with the Gulf and Central Asian powers. The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan was a major setback for Indian foreign policy. The successive Indian government-backed, US-backed governments of Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani. However, the new Taliban regime may end India’s financial and infrastructure assistance.
Domestic politics and certain specific internal elements can impact the foreign relations of India. The hate speeches by some religious leaders against other religions have been an issue. The attacks on churches and calls for action against Indian Muslims are some of those incidents. It has caught the attention of the international media and world leaders. The hostility and power politics between the prominent nations will only make the circumstances more complex.
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