Coronavirus: Covid-19

CoVid-19— ‘World Interrupted’ (A Geoeconomic and Geopolitical Overview)

Historian Yuval Noah Harari believes that, CoVid-19 will ensure that, the world as we know it, changes forever.

Coronavirus epidemic is a classic case of ‘World Interrupted’. Not only did it hold the world to ransom but also exposed the reality of our medical and other preparedness. While everything around us has come to a scathing halt—the discussions surrounding what possible impacts CoVid-19 is going to leave on our lives, world economy, security systems are constant. It is too early to make predictions as the biggest ‘unknown’ is, how long will it take to get things under control. The full effects of the Pandemic are not quite visible yet, but, they will be mammoth.

The Geo-economic impact of CoVid-19 is already choking developed nations, let alone its impact on developing nations like India. Those dependent on trade with China, which is almost every nation across the globe is facing the heat now. The virus is bleeding markets. With companies adopting ‘Work from Home’ or ‘Working Remotely’ to keep the economy fluid, cyber criminals have got activated sensing fears of data theft, ransomware, hacking etc. The Indian economy that is already grappling with a slow- down, furthermore, its recovery prospects may get hurt further due to the outbreak. Former RBI Governor, Raghuram Rajan suggests, that the key is to ensure that a temporary economic shock does not become a permanent one is, we need bridges to keep firms from closing down. Temporary income support can be given but not for the long term, thus, the need of the hour is to synergise every resource to tackle the crisis before moving ahead with any other major recovery plans, because the longer it takes the harder it will be to recover from it.

Geopolitical Observations:

The Pandemic has confirmed the blurring of borders in a globalised world and it has undoubtedly become a defining moment in contemporary history. Unsurprisingly, even the Pandemic news was dominated by the geopolitical competition” between the United States and China, and instead of cooperating in efforts, the two hurled mutual disgrace for each other. The weakness of ‘Global governance’ in the health care area is exposed and it remains fraught as a result of trade wars, intractable conflicts and inaction on climate change. While Europe and US are fighting the virus in a state of fragility, China is determined to gain new centrality in the global system.

What the Future “May” Behold: The World is never going to be the same again post the crisis and we need to brace ourselves for what the future beholds. Geoeconomically, we may face short term crisis, but in the longer term, countries like India may benefit by producing more in home economies because there will be a realization that countries cannot rely on supply chains across borders, this will generate industries, employment, income. It may also promote multilateralism, responsible globalization and strengthening of International organisations and make a case for World Government, because crisis like these require a coordinated response. Geopolitically, as Harsh V. Pant observes, that the center of global politics is shifting to the East, and how countries like Japan, India, South Korea have responded to the crisis in contrast to developing countries. This pandemic has shown how the balance of power that was already swinging East has been further accentuated. West is in decline, but there’s no certainty of a China led world order.

As for India, unlike the Panic in west, it has been proactive and calm in its response to Coronavirus. India has led from the front and projected itself as a responsible stakeholder. It can traverse the rocky waters between the United States and China and become a significant voice on the world platform.

Author: Saloni Salil
(The Author is Defence Analyst and Officer on Special Duty at Defence and Security Alert Magazine, New Delhi.)

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