Ukraine war: General Asthana´s Indian point of view

Ukraine war: General Asthana´s Indian point of view

We publish three articles by former Indian General Asthana which give the Indian point of view about the Ukraine war. General Asthana as most Indian elite see the Ukraine war as the result of a great power game by the USA and Russia about Ukraine in the tradition of realism and Mearsheimer´s great power offensive realism, , doesn´t want to condemn Russia or propose sanctions against it as the USA also didn´t care about sovereignity or the international order when invading Iraq and causing human tragedies and chaos in the Greater Middle East. General Asthana as Modi think that a neutral Ukraine would be the best solution for all sides, the Russians, the USA, the Ukrainians and the rest of the world. .The Ukraine war is also critizised in the sense that after the withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan, the USA focuses now more on Europe and maybe can´t manage the Indo- Pacific and counter China as the main competitor for itself and India. Also the global effects of the sanctions against Russia  the world economy. However, like Mearsheimer and other experts General Asthana seems to think that the conflict between Russia and the USA and NATO could be resolved by a neutral Ukraine, while many other experts think that this would only appease Russia in its ambition to drive the USA out of Europe and destroy NATO and the EU, starting with support of nationalist and right-winged parties and an attack in the Baltic states or a nuclear demonstration off the coast of Finland to deter it from a NATO membership. Russia´s  draft treaty which wants a roll back of NATO before the borders of 1997, the date of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and before the Kosovo war are not mentioned or that Russia´s goal is far beyond just Ukraine. And that Putin just would not stop in Ukraine and use the ceasefire to regroup and strengthen his army with new recruits and transsform the Russian economy in a war economy like his strategic partner  Xi´s transformation of the Chinese economy and society for a “protracted war”. The ost decisive point is missing in the analysis: The Sino-Russian strategic axois for a New multipolar wolrd order which wants to push the USA out from Europe and the INdo-Pacific, the Xi-Putin meeting with the rumor that Xi asked to start his invasion after the Winter Olympics and that China with its new pipelines and energy treatoes gave way to the Russian invasion in Ukraine as Putin knew that China would compensate the loss of his European market. Maybe Xi just used Putin as the „useful idiot for China“ to bind the USA to Europe. THere were two factions in the West: One faction which thinks that the Sino-Russian axis has to be fought at the same time and then others who thought you can appease Russia by a Trump deal or compromises, get it in distance from China and neutral for the coming Sino-American conflict in the Inod-Pacific. The fight is not about Ukraine, but about the new world order.

General Asthana also thinks, that the Ukraine war and the sanctions will accelerate the decline of the US world power, especially as the would create a alternate financial and currency  system and undermine the hegemony of the dollar. Some Russian  Eurasian thinkers in the tradition of Orientalists, Primakov´s RIC or RIAC-Kortunov´s Eurasia  hope for the dawn of a new international currency bloc, an Eurasian finance system with Yuan, Indian rupee, Turkish Lira or Russian ruble as a currency basket. That Saudiarabia wants to use some yuans for Chinese oil imports or India rubble for some very limited oil imports from Russia, maybe Turkey will use the Rubel for Turkish energy imports etc. are seen as the dawn of a new Eurasisan unity and order. The Global Times also praises India loud for not condemning Russia in the Ukraine war, praising India´s neutrality and sovereignity which doesn´t engage in the Democratic alliance of Biden- USA. General Asthana thinks that a new Eurasian finance and currency system is in the baby phase with the BRICS bank and the Chinese Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). But even if these babies are directed against the dollar, their volume and scope is still very  limited and the Yuan would be the dominant currency under which the Indian rupe, the Turkish Lira, the Russian ruble or other weak currencies had to subordinate. Maybe the former European Currency Union and its currency the ECU could be a model as it was the babyphase of the Euro,but a currency basket with a osziliation  spectrum which was limited to 15% while many currencies often dropped out. It became no real challenge for the dollar. However it is very unlikely that there will be a Eurasio like the Euro. A sort of Eurasian Euro. Which role a falling ruble or Turkish Lira would play in such a construction, which terms of trade, fracturing and currency relations and compensation mechanisms could be the base for such a construction is questionable. A finance and currency bloc of mostly bankrupt and sanctioned states , which have only the hope that China will come to their relief and become not only a currency Yuan  colony, but neocolonies for sale by China embedded in the New Silkroad and it would also mean that they will loose most of their so much praised sovereignity. And even the construction that the falling Turkish Lira could stabilize the falling ruble if Turkey bought gas from Russia is not an automatism as Israel and the USA want to replace Russian energy exports to Europe and Turkey by the Mediterean Gas Forum which was founded under Trump and Pompeo and US fracking gas and oil. While India is part of the BRICS and the BRICS bank which has neither a general secretary nor a real big budget or famous investment projects. India is like the USA and Japan not member or investor of the Chinese AIIB which only finances a part of the BRI, but all three have their own projects like the Asia- Africa- Economic Corridor,  B3W and they oppose the Chinese New Silkroad, India especially the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) like the EU started now  its own Global Gateway initiative. India and General Asthana are worried that after the withdrawal from Afghanistan and its new US engagement in Europe and the Ukraine war, the USA might forget about the joint fight against China in the Indo-Pacific and might be not see a defense obligation for the Quad while the AUKUS is weakened by the new focus of the USA and GB on Europe. What about the Asian pivot and the Indo-Pacific and China and India? But in India there are some elite experts who discuss if the Quad will not become an Asian NATO and India in this framework hadn´t an US defense guarantee, maybe the USA and India should sign a bilateral security treaty like it exists between the USA and Japan. However, at the moment the mainstream opinion in India  is still supporting Indian neutrality and independent foreign policy, some even a new Non-Alignment Movement.

We also recommend the article “ Tools of Economic war”in the Foreign Affairs which gives an overview about sanction regimes in the past and the present sanction regime against Russia and its consequences for the world economy and the economic and political systems worldwide. In the post-war past the West mostly had sanctions against economically weak states where it sometimes worked, but in other cases not, for example Cuba. However, the first big sanction regime was against Iran, but became very difficult. Now with Russia the united sanction front is already coming to its limits as the backlash and the consequences for the whole world economy are much bigger as it is the world´s 11th largest economy with strategic raw materials , gas and oil and wheat for all supply chains. Therefore a sanction regime beyond the US trade war against the guerilla economy China was rather unlikely. In the 30s the was an international sanction regime against Mussolini- Italy after its invasion in Ethopia/Abbesina, But the USA and most of the international sanction regime supporters refused sanctions against Nazi- Germany as the German economy was much bigger and important and everybody feared a world economic crisis and depression. That´s comparable today: Putin is like Mussolini-Italy, but the question is if the West would  really build a sanction regime against Hitler- XI China in the case that he was invading Taiwan.

“The Toll of Economic War: How Sanctions on Russia Will Upend the Global Order”

 Global Review will deepen these topics  in a coming interview with General Asthana.  

Have Big Powers pushed Ukraine to Disaster?

By Maj Gen SB Asthana


Russia has declared war on Ukraine on 24 February 2022, and is executing a plan meticulously prepared and war-gamed. NATO appears to have over-relied on the potency of its sanctions to deter Putin, which appears to be a major strategic error because it has not worked in the past and does not appear to be working now. Instead, it has emboldened Russian leadership’s resolve that NATO will be unable to respond to a quick offensive beyond condemnation,. Ukraine’s capacity building, and sanctions on Russia. It has pushed Ukraine to disaster, as its President’s loud demand to join NATO was neither acted upon by West, nor provided him any assurance that anyone else would do the heavy lifting or put boots on the ground in Ukraine to fight Russians, despite a massive military force imbalance in Russia’s favour

Decoding Strategic and Military Action of Russia so far

The contours and logic of Russian Plans were evident from its posturing over months, President Putin’s speeches to the nation and his demands made to Ukraine. The political aim of Russia seems to be to target Ukraine’s leadership to give up demand of NATO membership, or else force a regime change, replacing it with a pro-Russian government not propagating NATO membership/agenda. Strategically, the centre of gravity for Russian offensive is minds of Ukraine’s leadership and military to surrender to Russia with minimum military actions. This strategic goal cannot be realised without surrounding Kyiv, which is the key strategic objective; as a result, operations to encircle Kyiv and capture adjacent airbases have been launched. After Russia recognised the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic, the liberation of the Donbas region was a foregone conclusion.

The military aim is to demilitarise Ukrainian military to ensure that Ukraine cannot be used as a springboard by NATO to threaten security of Russia and isolate Kyiv to facilitate regime change without military interference. To shape the battlefield, Russian  military postured three sides of Ukraine with massive combat superiority, used forces in Belarus to invade from the North to reach Kyiv via shortest route, used its Black Sea fleet and Crimea to blockade Ukraine from South, and forces in Donbas region to invade from east and some forces from northeast to expedite consolidation. The military operations were preceded by cyber-attacks and information warfare. Military operations were launched in a well-planned and professional manner under the banner of ‘Special Operations,’ beginning with air and missile strikes to neutralise air defence capability, air assets to achieve air superiority, and pulverise military targets, claiming to have destroyed over 70 military targets and installations, including 11 airfields in Ukraine, before ground elements marched in, adding conventional superiority to upgrade its hybrid war.

NATO’s Response and Future Options 

President Biden’s address on 22 February, and statements of other western leaders, clearly indicated that NATO is not going to have boots on ground in Ukraine and will depend on financial sanctions and material support to Ukraine as response to Russian aggression. This weakness emboldened Russia to seize opportunity for offensive into Ukraine with minimum military cost, so far. NATO is still unclear about further responses, as Russian offensive is already underway; hence time for any possible military action by NATO is already over. NATO therefore is only salvaging its own security by strengthening NATO countries bordering Ukraine/Russia to prevent any possibility of Russian adventurism into any of the NATO country, leaving Ukraine to its fate, as its not a member of NATO as yet. 

Likely Russian Action Ahead

Russia will try to achieve its strategic objectives as fast as possible and move out of Ukraine to minimise its cost. It will avoid fighting in built up areas, as it will prolong the invasion and may not remain as occupational force to avoid backlash from segment of hostile population turning into insurgency against it. It will therefore try to maximise pressure on Ukraine by all instruments of power to submit to regime change or force  it at the earliest and deescalate. Notwithstanding what Russia wants, the resolve of Ukrainian military and leadership will determine the timeframe and escalation dynamics and the support of NATO to refuel resistance will determine the staying power. Russia is unlikely to make the mistake of annexing complete Ukraine, as it does not make sense in strategic cost benefit analysis. To build pressure for Ukraine to surrender, Russia may also takeover some key strategic installations, till its aims are achieved. It’s a harsh punishment for Ukraine’s uncomfortable geopolitical location and leadership’s desire to join NATO, which has thrust it into the centre of a “Big Power Contestation” that is going to be a tragedy for its people, in all contingencies.

Indian Response   

The first priority for India should be to evacuate its own students and diaspora. It can push for diplomatic solutions and peaceful resolutions, as well as measures to reduce temperatures, but it should avoid taking sides because it has good relations with all of the powers involved in the crisis. While each country’s sovereignty must be maintained, both sides have rejected it when it has served their interests, as in the Iraq war, Crimea and Afghanistan.India needs to factor the weak western response to Ukraine crisis in its strategic calculations, as it can embolden other authoritative powers like China to take similar actions in Indo-Pacific region. It is worth noting Ukraine condemned India’s nuclear tests in 1998 and voted against India in the UNSC; it sold 320 T80UD Main Battle Tanks to Pakistan in the period 1997-99; in 2017 it undertook to overhaul these tanks and also supply nightsights for this fleet.In 2020, India had voted against the Ukraine sponsored in the UN condemning Human Rights violations in Crimea.

Is the West Weaponising Ukrainian Nationalism to Checkmate Russia?

March 20, 2022

By Gen. Shashi Asthana

The conflict in Ukraine has rolls over to fourth week of devastation, resulting in over three million refugees, numerous military and civilian casualties, and intermittent reconciliatory tones of hopeful dialogue, alternated with rhetoric from opposing sides to continue fighting. While the West continues to give standing ovations to President Zelensky’s emotional speeches and responds with a package of military hardware and funds, it is pouring fuel to the fire by prolonging global agony and encouraging Ukrainians to fight to the death in order to weaken Russia. While NATO can claim that Ukraine is not part of it; hence its not obligated to join fight with Russia through ‘No Fly Zone’ as repeatedly requested by Zelensky, risking the potential to trigger Third World War/Nuclear war, but NATO is very much part of the conflict through economic war, information war, diplomatic war, political war and other instruments of Non-contact warfare.

Big Power Contestation Continues with No Concern for Humanitarian Disaster

Any offensive into another sovereign country has disastrous consequences for the people and must be condemned, whether it’s current Russian offensive in Ukraine or earlier NATO invasions in Iraq and other parts of MENA. With few security guarantees, this was avoidable, but the big power contestation continues to spiral it, with display of heroics of President Zelensky, failing to read the extent, depth, and impact of Western support and President Putin’s resolve, least realising that the nationalism and his peoples resolve is being used as an instrument to prolong an unwinnable, proxy war, leading his country to disaster. The war of narrative seems getting dangerous with references to nuclear, biological and chemical dimensions in heated exchanges/allegations.    

How has Battlefield ‘Ukraine’ shaped up after Three Weeks?

After three weeks, the shaping of battlefield by Russians seems to make strategic sense, but at a very heavy cost, which is increasing consistently. Russian main offensive is towards Kyiv, which is the Centre of  Gravity to achieve political objective of imposing No-NATO diktat on its political leadership or force a regime change, through the shortest route from Belarus. The complete isolation of Kyiv is yet to be achieved and the political consolidation is not in sight. Given the spirit of nationalism among Ukrainians, stoked by Zelensky’s sentimental appeals and bolstered by western information warfare, Russians need to moderate their political objective from regime change to imposing a No-NATO Agreement with Zelensky, because any pro-Russian puppet regime, even if imposed, is unlikely to survive.

The Russian military aim to demilitarise Ukrainian military to ensure that Ukraine cannot be used as a launchpad by NATO to threaten security of Russia, has been partially achieved by extensive air and missile strikes to neutralise air defence capability and air assets to achieve favourable air situation, pulverising military targets, claiming to have destroyed most of them, including air fields and military installations in Ukraine. It is increasingly capturing strategic installations to step up pressure on Zelensky.

The offensive from South is aimed at cutting off  Ukrainian access to Black Sea and Sea of Azov by securing a permanent land corridor from Russia to Crimea with an end-state of landlocked Ukraine. Russians have been able to achieve most of the corridor except Odessa, with intense fighting in townships. The offensive from the East is aimed at liberation of complete Luhansk and Donetsk regions, where intense fighting continues despite initial gains. 

Ukraine’s strong resolve to resist Russian offensive under leadership of President Zelensky, has been noteworthy, having deliberately prepared for the conflict. To overcome the asymmetry in military asset holdings, the Ukrainian force deployed smartly in densely populated areas to fight pitched battles in townships, despite losing air cover in the early phases of the conflict. The strategy is to deploy military assets in civilian areas, turn towns into fortresses, and residential areas into pillboxes, incite mercenaries and civilians to fight as part of the war machine, launch sniper attacks, ambushes, small team operations, drone attacks on softer convoys, and provoke Russians to target residential areas in order to gain propaganda advantage from civilian casualties through superior information warfare, backed by the west to demonise President Putin. With adoption of urban insurgency model, the war has thus morphed from conventional to hybrid war with both sides planning to induct more non-state actors.

The Ukrainian strategy seems to have succeeded in delaying Russian operations and placing Russia in an awkward position of having to choose between fighting in populated, built up areas, which is cost prohibitive in terms of human and equipment casualties in favour of defender, or isolating, bombarding townships, residential areas alleged to house military assets, disrupting essential services, and pressuring Zelensky, at the cost of risking international condemnation. The Russians appear to have selected the latter option, extending the range of air strikes to western Ukraine which is the lifeline for assistance from West including  military hardware. from west is

Are Actions by West Helping Ukraine?

US and western allies are claiming to be helping Ukraine through financial and diplomatic sanctions on Russia and military hardware support to Ukraine of the type (smaller calibre) which can improve staying power of Ukrainian fighters, and induce long term insurgency in Europe, even if negotiations reach some conclusion in due course. The aim is to permanently weaken Russia by weaponising Ukrainian nationalism, posing Zelensky as hero, to continue fighting with their proxy support. EU’s support to refugees from Ukraine is the only positive humanitarian support, where UK and US seem to be shying.

Decoding the Future

If the war gets prolonged further, Ukraine will be destroyed physically, Russia will suffer punitive financial cost, EU will lose long lasting peace and energy security, and the entire world will suffer economically. Ukrainians and Russian residents and soldiers will bear the brunt of the consequences. While the EU is presenting a bold, united front with the US in order to weaken Russia, it has its limits, up to the point when its gas supply is choked, with risk of insurgency at its doorsteps.

In the short term, the US may appear to benefit from Russia’s weakness by increasing arms and oil exports, but in the long run, it will lose credibility and reliability globally. China will emerge wiser, learning from Russian experience and assessing the risk profile of the US, whose leadership is fixated on the wrong adversary and unable to combat the real competitor in the Indo-Pacific. Diversion of focus from China to Russia will speed up US decline as superpower, faster than what its strategists anticipate. 

Sanctions will eventually lose their lustre, as more sanctions may lead non-western countries to seek an alternative financial system that is not dependent on the West, jeopardising their long-term interests. The world is more intertwined than it was previously, and with the economic fulcrum shifting from the West to the Indo-Pacific, a de-dollarised financial system could be the most significant future risk to the US.

For European security, a neutral Ukraine is the best option. Ukraine has never been accepted into NATO and is unlikely to be welcomed in the future, as it has never met the basic criteria of a peaceful internal and exterior situation, having been involved in conflicts/disturbances in both dimensions. It is preferable if Ukraine and Russia face reality as soon as possible and resolve the issue through direct dialogue, putting rhetoric, egos, and sentiments aside. It might be a better idea for the West, too, to encourage a ceasefire through discussions, addressing the legitimate security interests of all parties, rather than adding fuel to the fire by imposing more sanctions or providing more hardware support to prolong the war.

Decoding Global Implications of Escalation Dynamics of Conflict in Ukraine in Second Week

by Maj. Gen. Shashi Asthana · 7th March 2022


The cold war 1.0 may have been declared to be over with the disintegration of the USSR, but the NATO – Russian tug of war kept it alive, leading to an avoidable conflict, triggered by ‘Big Power Contestation in Ukraine’, which has escalated to dangerous dimensions, rolling over to the second week of intense battle, with accusations of nuclear references by both sides.

Any invasion into another sovereign country (including the Russian offensive in Ukraine) has disastrous consequences for the people and should be denounced. With few security guarantees, it was avoidable, but the big power contest spiralled it, with a crude display of heroism by President Zelensky, who failed to read the extent, depth, and impact of Western support and President Putin’s unwavering resolve, and thus continues to pursue an unwinnable war, notwithstanding the standing ovations by West for his heroics, pushing the people of Ukraine to disaster, with a speediest refugee crisis of 1.5 million people in 15 days, fastest since World War 2.

Is upholding Sovereignty, Democracy and Morality Situational?

The call by the West to uphold sovereignty, morals and rule-based order are situational, after similar trampling of sovereignty in Iraq, side-lining democracy in Afghanistan to negotiate a deal with Taliban by NATO, replacement by the government of terrorists and the resultant disaster must be equally condemned. If China was likewise sanctioned for occupying features in the South China Sea and intruding in Ladakh, the West’s argument for punishing sanctions on Russia by the West would have made more sense. The miseries of women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are comparable to those of the people of Ukraine, and the international community should have avoided all of them in order to maintain a moral high ground. The global stance, therefore, continues to be driven by selective national interests.

How has the Conflict Shaped up so far?

While Russia and Ukraine fight deadly kinetic, contact warfare in the hybrid domain, the West is also is fighting a non-kinetic, non-contact, undeclared war simultaneously in battleground Ukraine. The intense fighting has seen heavy casualties both sides. Having completed offensive posturing of Ukraine from three sides, Russia can be accused of breaching its sovereignty, despite signing ‘The Memorandum of Security Assurance’ at Budapest in 1994, wherein Russia, US and UK assured that the sovereignty of Ukraine will not be compromised, which was a major factor in Ukraine returning the nuclear arsenal located in its territory back to Russia and signing NPT, and the US and UK unable to send boots on the ground to protect it. On the other side NATO, despite former US Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance, continued eastward expansion, after adding 14 countries, reached at consideration of Georgia and Ukraine, giving adequate reason for Putin to adopt the course of military adventure to physically secure Russian security interest by occupying strategically sensitive areas in Ukraine to avoid possible deployment of NATO arsenal threatening Russia.

In last eleven days the battle has reached from preparatory stage to Dog Fight stage, wherein  Russian military has shaped the battlefield by progressing its main thrust towards Kyiv, which is the Centre of  Gravity to achieve political objective of imposing No-NATO diktat on its political leadership or force a regime change, through the shortest route from Belarus. This was preceded by cyber-attacks and information warfare. Under the banner of ‘Special Operations,’ beginning with air and missile strikes to neutralise air defence capability, air assets and pulverisation of military targets helped achieving almost air supremacy. The military aim of demilitarising Ukrainian military to ensure that Ukraine cannot be used as a springboard by NATO against Russia is yet to be achieved, although isolation of Kyiv has been done. The process of investment, pulverising and softening of key strategic targets in and around Kyiv continues, so that Russian forces minimise casualties by reducing fighting in built up area  to the extent possible if Ukraine doesn’t give up its demands earlier.

The subsidiary thrust to Kharkiv faced an unexpected resistance, but has made considerable progress. Certain neighbouring towns along the main thrust lines are also being pulverised by heavy air/arty/missile strikes to ward of threat to its shaft/ axes of maintenance when the spear of offensive penetrates Kyiv. Simultaneously Russia has also launched an offensive to cut off warm water access to Ukraine in the south, where the battle seems to be reaching the consolidation stage.  The occupation of nuclear plants, important strategic assets and cutting of essential services like electricity, supplies, internet of Kyiv and other townships is in progress, as Zelensky continues to resist. 

Ukraine has shown strong resolve to fight under leadership of President Zelensky, having deliberately prepared for the conflict. Realising the asymmetry in holdings of military assets, the Ukrainian military has concentrated on defensive deployment in built up areas to give pitched battle in townships having lost the air cover in initial stages of battle. The strategy is to deploy military assets in civil areas, provoke civilians to fight and gain propaganda advantage out of civilian casualties. The aim is to mitigate asymmetry of military assets by drawing the Russian military into street fighting, forcing heavy casualties on them, using built-up areas as fortresses and later adopt urban insurgency model to fight.

NATO and the West can also be accused of adding fuel to fire, launching Non-contact warfare spearheaded by robust economic offensive with crippling sanctions on Russia, leaving no room or incentive for Putin to slow down. The massive information warfare and diplomatic campaign launched by West in conjunction with Ukraine has projected Zelensky as hero, motivated enough to continue fighting till Ukraine’s disaster on behalf of West, and Putin as villain, who has only one option to maintain his position amidst a financial crisis of his people i.e. a military victory in Ukraine.

A neutral Ukraine as buffer between NATO and Russia would have met the security interest of all parties, but big powers kept playing games to disturb it. Neither Russia nor NATO want to join their land borders in sensitive geostrategic location of Ukraine. The catastrophe can best be mitigated by diplomatic talks, accepting neutral Ukraine, setting aside rhetoric, sentiments and egos. Two rounds of talks yielded no results and the trend will continue unless there is change in demand of any of the parties to the conflict. Although Ukrainians are fighting bravely, but gross asymmetry in combat power, in favour of Russians will prevail.

Global implications of Ukraine Conflict

Regardless of the outcome of the fight, Ukraine is physically destroyed, Russia is financially pained, and Europe, despite putting up a brave united face, is shivering at the prospect of an energy crisis, besides disruption of its seven decades of peace. While America may be overjoyed by rising stock prices in its arms industry and halting of Nord Stream 2 pipeline project which is seen as a threat, with the potential for the increased energy dependence of more NATO allies on Russia to strategically weaken NATO, a grouping posing to be united, junking energy interest over collective security, for the time being.

This conflict, however, has the potential to accelerate decline of US as superpower, by exposing inability of US in influencing outcomes in sensitive conflict of Ukraine so far. The US may also find it difficult to intervene anywhere, after demonising Russia for the same act, besides partnering angered EU in the long run, whose peace, economy, and energy supply chain stands disturbed for long time. NATO’s inability to meet the over-expected demand of Zelensky of providing ‘No Fly Zone’ to Ukraine will frustrate him further, as the suffering of Ukrainians increases, notwithstanding the fact that he was told that NATO will not put boots on the ground in Ukraine.  

Ukraine conflict is also putting Russian resolve, arsenal, strategy and operational art to test, the lessons of which will be applied in future wars. Russia is concentrating on military victory for the time being, but will face resounding setbacks economically. If Russian punishment is too heavy then it might discourage China from further aggression and if Russia comes out victorious, it might encourage China to repeat it in Taiwan and other places outside NATO, because probability and potency of sanctions by the West on bigger economies like China are very low, as West never dared such an option, despite China trampling sovereignty of others. This conflict has also shown futility of some global bodies like the UN, which seem strong against weak countries and helpless and defunct against strong countries.  

In this conflict, while Russia can be accused of physically violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the West can also be accused of violating rule-based financial order by seizing financial securities and assets, breaching financial sovereignty and increasing the risk of investments by non-Western countries in Western financial institutions. Over-reliance on sanctions by US and West acts like CAATSA in the inter-dependent world mark the beginning of alternate, non-western financial system to avoid economic offensive/coercion and weaponisation of global financial order. It could be a reality as some baby step were taken in terms of  BRICS bank and AIIB, which may get further accelerated.

This conflict will encourage many countries to develop own capacities and self-reliance in defence, besides facing the global economic setback in the interconnected world. If viewed in conjunction with coronavirus pandemic and aggressive China, the world needs alternate global factory and supply chain independent of China and alternate financial system independent of west, which may take at least a decade, but will get expedited.

Indian Response  

The first priority for India is to evacuate its own students and diaspora, in which it has achieved considerable success by launching operation Ganga, evacuating almost 80 percent of Indian nationals. It can push for diplomatic solutions and peaceful resolutions, as well as measures to reduce temperatures, but it should avoid taking sides because it has good relations with all affected parties and no side holds moral high-ground, having been part of the problem. India needs to factor the weak Western response to the Ukraine crisis in its strategic calculations, as it can embolden other authoritative powers like China to take similar actions in the Indo-Pacific region. Indian concerns also include trade with Ukraine and the impact of sanctions, which need to be factored.

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