World Amid Circa 2021

The World will not be the same after what it has faced in the last two years under the shadow of Covid-19. Especially for India, it has been a challenging year, not only dealing with the surge of Covid-19 but also with its neighbors. Mainly, an aggressive China, disturbed Myanmar, problematic Pakistan and the change of regime in Afghanistan. Besides all these issues, India did quite well in coping up.

At the same time India’s political parties are so blinded by electoral calculations and unwilling to act against assaults on the nation’s social cohesion. The threat to India’s internal unity is grave as well as with external security with China’s aggressive posture. Therefore, India cannot afford to alienate its religious minorities, the farmers and underprivileged, which could give way to exploitation by its adversaries.

Similarly with US where Trump tried to usurp the Presidency with the means not heard of in American history. However, the storm subsided eventually but with loss of precious lives and public property.

India’s economic growth, the basic driver of socio-economic progress, is undermined by internal and external problems including climate change and environmental pollution. Governance is marred by large-scale unemployment and economic disparities. Excessive power with the ruling party has weakened the independence of the State. Instead, a ‘rule by law’ has become the signature tab of governance. Layered with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, India’s internal dynamics have taken a beating in its ability to cope with these challenges and squatting on its strategic panorama.

It is important for the political parties to understand the enemies within. It is high time they woke up and accepted these harsh realities and begin earnest action for constructive change. 

After Galwan Valley clash with China, 2021 also saw India forging closer ties with US in terms of security and become a key member in formation of QUAD that includes Japan, Australia and US. Several other European and ASEAN countries are also ready to join-in to contain China’s influence globally. Geo-politics has now shifted drastically towards the Pacific theatre.

In some of the world’s most dangerous and complex places, COVID-19 has reversed decades of progress, with the aftershocks of the pandemic threatening more children’s lives than the virus itself.   

According to United Nations, in the last two years around 80 million people half of whom are under the age of 18 became refugees due to violence and conflict.

The world is not on track to achieve the targets it has set itself to improve nutrition by 2030 with 50.5 million children under five acutely malnourished. If hunger does not kill a child, severe and acute malnutrition at an early age can cause lifelong physical and mental damage. 

Due to climate change the year witnessed extreme weather conditions on our planet with direct impact on the poorest and most vulnerable populations. On the other end of this scale have been floods in Australia, India, Europe and America. Forest fires raging through the Amazon, Spain and California.

Hopefully, we will learn from these challenges faced during 2021 and change the way we think and act for our planet’s future.