Online Quiz Test

India’s Multi-alignment Position Has a Problem

GS 2 India & Foreign Relations Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests

In Context

  • The strategic autonomy and non-alignment policy of India have evolved into a multi-alignment strategy.

About India’s multi-alignment stand

  • Origin of India’s non-alignment stand:
  • Since New Delhi declared itself “non-aligned” in the 1950s, Indian thinking on founding and joining regional economic and security groupings has undergone a gradual evolution.
  • India remained a major participant in the “Non-Aligned Movement” (NAM) thereafter.
  • The 120 members of NAM declared that they would not become entangled in “Great Power” rivalries between the United States and the Soviet Union.

India’s current multi-alignment stand:

With Russia

  • The dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s led to the formation of new alliances and groupings.
  • Nevertheless, we are now partners, in various capacities, with all the main global power centers. Today, economics and economic integration play a much more central role as cooperation’s connections.


  • India is linked to the United States and Japan much more closely than in the past, in a world order that is becoming increasingly China-centric.
  • This has been the objective of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or QUAD, which consists of the United States, Australia, India, and Japan.
  • In recent days, the most significant decision was made following the first summit meeting of the newly formed I2U2 group, comprised of India, Israel, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • India and the United States partnered for the first time with two West Asian nations to emphasize cooperation on water resources, food security, health, transportation, and space.

Southeast Asian Nations:

  • Although India has a free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN, New Delhi has chosen, for understandable reasons, not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which consists of 15 East Asian and Pacific countries, including ASEAN members, Australia, New Zealand, and China.
  • India is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a permanent intergovernmental international organization of Eurasian nations with its headquarters in Beijing.
India’s Stand on Russia’s War with Ukraine

·        India’s reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine was unique among global democracies and U.S. strategic allies.

·        Despite its unease with Moscow’s conflict, New Delhi has adopted a public stance of neutrality toward Russia.

·        It abstained from successive votes condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine in the UN Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council, and has thus far refused to explicitly identify Russia as the instigator of the crisis.

·        India has been subjected to substantial indirect pressure from Western nations that have publicly condemned Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.

·        India has demanded that the crisis be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.


Problem with India’s multi-alignment stand

No condemnation for violations of international law

  • India has refused to condemn violations of international law, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or the rebellion in Myanmar in February 2021 (New Delhi abstained from General Assembly and Security Council resolutions of the United Nations).
  • This may be understandable, as India has frequently avoided taking a stance on conflicts involving its traditional allies.
  • However, it is not unreasonable for detractors to argue that this ambiguity is unbecoming of a nation aspiring to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which entails a commitment to speak out against territorial aggression and human rights violations comparable to those Russia has perpetrated in Ukraine.

 Not in a position to act as a mediator

  • The pursuance of’multi-alignment’ may have afforded New Delhi some diplomatic space in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. However, India’s efforts to serve as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine may not be sufficient.

The most recent State of Southeast Asia Survey reveals that India ranks second-worst (1 percent) among ASEAN and nine middle powers for its leadership in sustaining a rules-based order and upholding international law.

  • India has avoided US-led regional security mechanisms such as AUKUS and 5-Eyes. This fact is frequently overlooked.

 Way ahead

 Rising middle power

  • India’s diplomatic achievement as a rising middle power has not gone unnoticed despite all of its problems.
  • Less than a decade ago, it would have been inconceivable to conceive of India receiving UAE funds and Israeli technology oriented toward US involvement in order to increase agricultural production for its western neighbors.

 Increase in levels of confidence

  • Additionally, India has experienced a significant increase in levels of trust this year, from 16.6 percent to 25.7 percent.
  • There is a significant increase among those who trust India who view India’s military power as an asset for global peace and security.

 Potential to balance and assume a greater role

  • As India’s influence grows, it can assume a greater role as a bridging power and play a moderating role in the Quad, G7, BRICS, and the SCO.
  • Considering India’s G20 and SCO presidency in 2023, this will be the year to observe India’s ability to strike a balance.


Daily Mains Question

[Q] The strategic autonomy and non-alignment policy of India have evolved into a multi-alignment strategy. Analyse. What difficulties are associated with India’s multi-alignment strategy?