Home / Opinion / Columns /  India must defend its own interests, as UN loses face
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Last week, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a despondent speech before the United Nations General Assembly, saying, “If you can’t halt the conflict, the UN Security Council should be dissolved." This isn’t the first time the UN has proven to be a dwarf before superpowers. Do we need a new world order now? We know that the UN was established after WWII to help the world advance in the right direction, but there was a battle for power within the organization between two ideologies. The Cold War is how the world refers to it.

Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed, a Pakistan-born Swedish historian, wrote about a meeting that took place in May 1947, which was attended by General Montgomery, with the heads of the British Royal Army and Royal Navy. In this meeting the generals pursued British policymakers that many senior leaders of the Congress have an inclination towards socialism. If we do not build a ‘buffer state’ in the middle, the Soviet Union’s influence may extend to the Arabian and Indian Ocean’s borders. Ahmed demonstrated with facts that as a result of this, on 3 June 1947, Mountbatten announced the decision on the partition of India in a radio broadcast and said that the moment of power transfer had been changed to August 1947.

You must understand why Pakistan has been in the lap of the West from day one. India, on the other hand, sought a middle ground even before the Non-Aligned Movement’s statement at the 1961 Belgrade Conference. Pakistan has now abandoned America and is resting in China’s lap. When Imran Khan criticised America as he was forced to step down as Prime Minister, Russia said it was a “shameful American act". The West is attempting to persuade India to stop purchasing oil and armaments from Russian. When India refused to budge, Dalip Singh, the assistant to the American National Security Advisor, warned of dire ramifications for New Delhi. President Joe Biden, the Secretaries of Commerce and Defense also expressed similar sentiments in hushed tones, but India remains unmoved.

Why? The key reason include past relations, Russian concessions on crude oil, reliance on Moscow for 60% of military supplies, and the Centre’s persistence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s theory of ‘nation-first’ applies in foreign policy as well. Not only the West, but Russia tried pressurizing India to cast vote in its favour but India abstained, and Russia was thrown out from UNHRC

This is also a period when the US is in decline. For decades, it has used different accords to keep the world, particularly Europe, under control. Boris Yeltsin, the former Russian president, was equally engrossed in this fantasy. The recession that began in the US in 2008 altered the entire equation. Donald Trump’s attitude on nuclear weapons and NATO expansion compelled Russia to reverse course over the next few years. Its crux was the invasions of Crimea and Syria. Things would not have gotten worse if NATO’s expansion ambitions ended there. What is happening in Ukraine is upsetting world peace. This fear has been heightened by the Buka atrocity. What if the situation gets much worse?

This is the point when developing countries start having problems. You don’t need to look far; simply look around our neighbourhood. Due to the collapse of Pakistan’s economy, Imran Khan Niazi was forced to resign. Sri Lankans’ lives have devolved into something akin to horror. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to declare a state of emergency to deal with the protests. In Bangladesh, people are protesting over rising inflation. Nepal is similarly in a state of flux. People in India are feeling helpless in the face of rising petrol and food prices. Apart from that, border tensions with China have been ongoing for the past two years. As a result, Dalip Singh warns that India should not be under the assumption that if China does something wrong, Russia will come to its aid. Dalip forgot that the Soviet Union stepped in to support India in 1971, when the US deployed its infamous Seventh Fleet to put pressure on New Delhi. During the Indo-Pak war, Moscow demonstrated its friendship by exercising its UN veto. Destroyed Ukraine is a real illustration of how much the US and NATO support any country. We must, without a doubt, fight our own struggle. I have no reservations in saying that India has dealt with this situation so far with a plan and power.

There is one more question. The Ukraine war is approaching its 50th day; what if it continues? Within one and a half months, this war has not only divided the entire world, but also instilled fear of a World War. It has also been proved that the order established after the dissolution of the Soviet Union has become obsolete. There is now only one option: either build a new world order with an open heart or prepare for the Third World War.

Shashi Shekhar is editor-in-chief, Hindustan. The views expressed are personal.

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