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The Financial Express

A revival of non-aligned movement?

| Updated: April 27, 2022 21:37:20


A revival of non-aligned movement?

Of so many phenomena across the world happening now centring Russia-Ukraine war, the most curious incident is perceptible in Asia. Especially, India's stance surprises many.

Despite disagreements on many fronts, China and India, among many other Asian countries, chose to refrain from condemning either side of the ongoing armed conflict. In the voting of the first United Nations General Assembly resolution, 40 governments accounting for around half of the world's population, including those of India, China and Bangladesh, voted against the draft or abstained. To some extent, it undermines the significance of the resolution, which is supposed to have gained a prima facie landslide support in terms of number of countries voting yes.

Unsatisfied with the ambiguous attitude of the developing world, the US and its allies held meetings with leaders and diplomats to convince states for bagging supports for Ukraine, what they are siding with. Joe Biden held long virtual meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In recent bilateral activities against the backdrop of celebrating 50 years' diplomatic ties, the US officials also urge their Bangladeshi counterparts to stand in line with the West on the issue.

Besides, as a development and stretch of warfare, the US and its allies have weaponised sanctions as a new 'stick' to picket their camp.  When announcing a new round of economic and trade sanctions, the US assumes the right to act in an arbitrary manner against any country that it deems to have continued trading with Russia. In Bangladesh, it is reported that the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project is affected due to the incumbent sanctions.

China's refusal to toe the US line is understandable, since it has a bitter memory of NATO's indiscriminate bombardment on the Chinese Embassy in Former Yugoslavia, and the US is currently sparing no efforts in containing the peaceful rise of the country.

India's stance surprises many, especially US. India seems to be taking an independent diplomatic stance despite being in the US camp for long.  On the one hand, India keeps silence when the West expects it to condemn Russia. On the other hand, India continues trading with Russia disregarding Western sanctions. It is recently reported that India is planning to boost shipments to Russia by an additional $2 billion as the two nations work out a payment system in local currencies. Bearing other countries' effort in direct trade bypassing US dollars, this may be a great push to end the US's currency domination.

As a member of the newly formed security alliance QUAD led by US, it takes a lot of risks and courage for India to defy its allies of West. India's stance reflects the public support that Russia enjoys, a reality Washington has seemingly yet to grasp. The public reminiscence of collective memory, connecting India's past disenchantment with the US to the present, is manifestly evident in discussions on social media.

India, with its over 1.4 billion population and a vast market, along with China is destined to be the dual-engines of world economy in the coming decades. New-born Asian tigers like Bangladesh are also playing increasingly significant roles in defining economic and political affairs at the international arena.

It needs to be noted that, these countries share a diplomatic legacy of non-alignment. It is reasonable to predict that, in the future world map of politics, the US hegemony and Western supremacy face a huge challenge -- not from a similar but rival camp, but from the developing countries' indifference towards power politics and bloc confrontation.

 

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