By: Sana Fatima (NUML)
The covid 19 had harsh results on the socio-economic stability of the world. With 2.3 million deaths and the global level of starvation reaching loftier levels, the pandemic has emerged as the greatest non-traditional security risk for the states and individuals. The world has beheld a rising non-traditional security issue that exceeds the destruction level of traditional factors this year. Now security is not only concerned with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States but also has a great impact on the lives of population. Climate change and pandemics took the spotlight from the other issues by challenging the survival of both state and people.
In the 2021 Davos Agenda Summit of Global Leaders, Emmanuel Macron the French President honoring 2021 stressed that the world needs to focus on regulating the changing climate which is one of the reasons for the coronavirus to emerge and spread. The pandemic not only challenged the world economically but also morally. This is why the world should pay attention to injustice. In the rat race between the stakeholders and buyers, it’s the earth that has paid a heavy price. The activities of humans have deeply affected nature and climate and due to these activities bigger issues are rising and posing a threat to the world economically, socially, and democratically. The significance of climate transition as an international symposium can be seen through the fact that Joe Biden after joining the office was quick to reenter us in the Paris agreement. There is no doubt that the issues of global health, climate change, and other non-traditional risks are the hot topics of 2021- 2022 and are given the same importance as other security risks.
In the realm of security in the international arena, covid has given an accelerated jerk to the security agenda of many regions. These agendas also include a revival of economic growth and creating a firming environment in the Indo pacific after the world experienced an economic pushback against China. This pandemic has significantly and dramatically altered the geostrategic terrain of the Indo pacific.
The countries of the Indo-Pacific suffered a great deal from the covid pandemic. India, Indonesia, and the US faced a lot of trouble in containing the spread of the pandemic. Countries like South Korea and Vietnam however coped with the situation effectively. But they also faced social and economic disruption and covid had its short and long term effects.
The pandemic is also going to take a toll on military zeal in the region. Due to the virus, all military drills and exercises have been limited. South Korea and Us joint exercises have been canceled this year. The annual Balikatan exercises between the US and Philippines have been canceled too. The multinational pitch-black exercises including South Korea, Japan, the US, and other regional powers were hosted by Australia. It was also called off recently. The risk of military accidents will be increased due to this. This situation will also raise a question on the US military capability and commitment in the region by its allies.
Covid has also affected the Indian economy and its role in the Indo pacific. The country was serving as a security provider in the region. But this change is temporary because India plays a big role in the region. It has a huge role including firming the naval capability, building a maritime capacity, and taking a leading role in the quad alliance. The pandemic has changed its current policy which is now tilted towards its domestic issues as it has a poor healthcare system and a lot of population to take care of. India conceptually understands all the security challenges that are emerging in the Indo pacific. China has an assertive policy and to counterbalance China as a regional power, India is working hard. India’s bilateral connections with nations such as the United States, Australia, and new entrants, such as Germany, have broadened since the start of the pandemic. These substantial steps in India’s bilateral connections increase the nation’s credibility in multilateral institutions. By increasing and strengthening its bilateral relationships, India profits more assistance from nations for its challenges, demands, and policy ideas at regional or international organizations. Therefore, India can further merge its strategic goals with regional cooperation during COVID-19, deepen its strategic relationship with major powers, and engage through multilateral cooperation.
The Korean peninsula will also be highly disturbed due to economic pressure. North Korea is already facing problems due to the sanctions from the international community. They have also closed their border with China in an attempt to stop the spread of disease. Keeping in view that China is their largest economic partner and if the disease still gets there, North Korea lacks the services and healthcare to cope with this situation. They will ultimately pledge for international assistance.
The United States that was enjoying the status of a hegemon and global power is declining. Not necessarily, but with emerging China, its position in the international world is not the same. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that the U.S opted for a policy of saving themselves first. This policy is not expected from a state that claims to be a global hegemon. On the other side, Chino was the first country to get affected by the virus not only recovered from its effects but also came out stronger than ever. China also gave priority to their interests but with that, they also came out as a leading country shifting the world order to multipolarity. In the presence of China, other middle powers are also getting a chance to thrive and come out as powerful states.
The pandemic also ejected a sense of cooperation between the nation-states in the region. This is through different institutions like ASEAN and quad. The need for cooperation to ensure stability and peace in the region is felt by many states and through these institutions, many countries got the chance to assert themselves.
Indo pacific reflects that China has succeeded to threaten the power us and the strategy is a response to China’s growing economic and influential presence. It also indicates
A connection between two oceans. The world is moving towards multipolarity. As Indo pacific mainly focuses on the ocean, and India has integral geostrategic importance in the Indian ocean, it also adopted the same concept to increase its connectivity with its trade partners.
Now with the non-traditional security risks such as corona and climate change, the impacts on the Indo-Pacific are also diversifying. Here are some of the shortlisted ones.
Throughout the epidemic, it was observed that the U.S opted for a policy of protecting themselves primarily. This policy is not anticipated from a state that alleges to be a global hegemon. On the other side, China was the first country to get impacted by the virus not only recovered from its effects but also came out stronger than ever.
Due to the virus, all military drills and exercises have been limited. The risk of military accidents will be increased due to this. This situation will also raise a question on the US military capability and commitment in the region by its allies.
The Korean peninsula will also be highly disturbed due to the economic pressure
The pandemic has changed its current policy which is now tilted towards its domestic issues as it has a poor healthcare system and a lot of population to take care of
The world has seen an economic decline but China is the only country that kept its economy maintained. This speaks a lot about its capabilities as an emerging power.