Another year has come to an end. It is only appropriate that we untether hope once again from the pole of cynicism and let it soar. Though admittedly it is not an easy task to do.
Geopolitically, 2022 has been an earth-shattering year, which portends revolution in international relations and geopolitical equations. In February, Russia did not just invade Ukraine, it accelerated the emergence of a new pole, new alliances and indeed a new way of conducting diplomacy. The West had been in progressive economic decline for the last decade. The only thing that was ensuring its lead was technology. But now with China’s technological leap driven by artificial intelligence, it is unlikely that this lead would remain. Combined with its near-recession proof economy and non-colonial history, China has already emerged as a new pole in the world which is again shrinking into bi-polarity after a brief glimmer of multi-polarity. The China-Russia combine has been attracting new allies, some of whom were once United States’ outposts in the region that for long has been the battleground of empires—the Middle East.
Unfortunately, these exciting geopolitical calisthenics are passing India by, primarily because New Delhi is reading the gathering storm as signs of pleasant weather. In the face of growing threats, it continues with kite-flying in the hope that somehow fair-weather friends will help dissipate the storm. There is much to worry. Hence, all the more reason to cling to hope.
Traditionally, December issue has been dedicated to the Indian Navy to mark the Navy Day on December 4, and so is this edition of FORCE. However, as we celebrate the coming of age of the Indian Navy, this issue also carries articles which gently call for reflection and reorientation of priorities. Hopefully, those in the high offices will take notice. And corrective measures too.
A big part this issue is the potted history of 2022. Looking back is always a middling affair—some good, some bad. It is only looking ahead that is perilous and unsettling.
Keep the seat belts on. And let hope do its trick. To a better 2023!