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Agile diplomacy would become the most important tool for any country’s foreign policy amid the geopolitical sands that have been changing over the past few weeks as a result of many changes. First up is the tricky balancing act between India, the US, and Russia. Russia’s new foreign strategy, which focuses the strengthening of ties with vital partners India and China, was unveiled last week. Alongside their NSA-level meeting for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Russian and Indian national security advisers met informally to discuss enhancing their respective countries’ defence cooperation. It has recently come to light that the two parties may have talked about extending their collaboration to include cooperative research and development of the upcoming supersonic BrahMos missile systems.

In comparison to China and the US, Russia appears to possess more technological know-how for the creation of these high-speed (at least five times faster than the speed of sound with higher degrees of manoeuvrability) missiles. With the recent purchase of advanced technology helicopters, missiles, and torpedoes capable of shooting down submarines from the US, India is ready to improve its naval capabilities, particularly its capacity for protecting its sea borders. The US’s initial resistance to having India as a strategic defence partner in the Indo-Pacific region now appears to have given way to a realistic approach, taking into account both India’s need for strategic defence and the region’s importance to it.

Previously confined to appendix chapters in Washington’s foreign policy manuals, the Indo-Pacific area now enjoys complete bipartisan backing from opposing ends of the political spectrum in US politics. The immediate danger comes from China’s growing influence in the area, which has taken on the role of the largest bully by encroaching on some of the most important national economies in the area. China’s opaque infrastructure funding practices, which have caused many of these growth-hungry economies to slip into a catastrophic debt trap, account for the majority of its influence in the Indo-Pacific region. These economic missteps give China the upper hand to begin influencing the country’s domestic politics, which is in line with the expansionist goals of the dragon.

But the US took notice and helped mediate a cease-fire between South Korea and Japan, two technologically advanced Asian superpowers. Despite their historical animosity against one another, these two nations are united by the fear of an assertive China in their backyard. The US is aware that its capacity to progress technology and incorporate it into its military hardware will determine its ability to maintain dominance in the post-Cold War world order. For emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, every innovation, every new application, and every standard created would be crucial for the competition for the top spot.

In order to involve a larger group of stakeholders in the current defence industrial collaboration and strategic technology partnership, the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies has already been operationalized. The US, India, Japan, and Australia are the members of the QUAD, and its discussions centre on supply chain resilience, expansion, and cooperation as well as innovative technologies. Through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework program, of which India is also a founding member, the US is also actively persuading nations in South and South-Southeast Asia to join a similar-minded bloc of partners. In the meantime, China has also been successful in putting together one of the largest free trade deals in the world, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, providing it access to the markets of the majority of the world’s economies.

In the midst of this, violence is still raging in Ukraine’s eastern districts. Many anticipate that China and India will act as the hushed middlemen who mediate a settlement between Ukraine and Russia. There will be unstable circumstances in every nation in the future.

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