• 03 March, 2024
Geopolitics & National Security

Crystal Gazing the Future of Ukraine

Maj Gen (Dr) Rajan Kochhar (Retd) Wed, 20 Apr 2022   |  Reading Time: 4 minutes

The past two months have been unprecedented in world history. We were transformed into the era of the pre Cold War reminiscent of World War II, 1941-45. It seems mankind has forgotten the mass destruction which human civilization was subjected to at that point of time. There were enough indications since last one year that the Russians were running out of patience and were seriously concerned about the expanding footprints of NATO right at their back yard. The Russian onslaught on Ukraine which commenced on 24 Feb 2022 and still on could well have been stymied if a proper statesmanship and understanding of the situation was exhibited by the world leaders in particular the United States. Unfortunately self interests and selfish motives overrode all considerations and the conflict was allowed to manifest itself.

Russia-China Nexus

The most serious aspect of this conflict has been pushing Russia closer to China and creating a wedge in the new world order. It will not be long before we see a distinct group, primarily anti American, emerging with countries like Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and some Central Asian Republics aligning together. We would not be surprised if Venezuela, Armenia and Syria also join. Then we also have the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an inter-governmental alliance created in 1992 that now unites six post-Soviet states: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Likely End State of Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Today, military supplies to Ukraine continue abated with a view to prolong the conflict. There are even reports of the presence of senior US Army officers guiding the Ukrainian Army in its riposte to the Russian forces. These developments are likely to prolong the end state and thereby lead to further destruction of the country. More than four million of the population of Ukraine have left the country and sought refuge in the neighbouring countries of Poland, Romania and Hungary. A huge humanitarian crisis is emerging now which will also need to be addressed.

What then would be the end state and how do we see Ukraine post the culmination of the conflict? The end state as visualised suggests that Ukraine would get divided into two parts with major areas such as Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Mariupol getting enjoined as separate entities with a portion of the Black Sea and complete Sea of Azov in Russian control. A land bridge would get created with these regions with Crimea. Russia would have created a buffer zone with its security concerns taken care off.

We would also have seen the complete destruction of the economic and military might of Ukraine. The complete infrastructure of its civil and military industry would stand destroyed. As a matter of fact most of it has already been decimated. Further, the Ukraine armed forces have suffered huge losses in terms of its military equipment especially tanks, UAVs, field artillery guns, multiple rocket launcher systems and fighter as well as transport aircrafts. It would take decades to build up a semblance of economic and military might of Ukraine.

Changing World Order

Russia has also threatened Sweden and Finland from joining forces with NATO. The Ukrainian war would be a stern reminder to them. One of the major fallout of this war has been an upsurge in the desire of nations to strengthen their military capability. The recent statements from Germany and Japan are a pointer to this fact. Today we have nine countries with nuclear weapon arsenal. In the near future we could see a greater demand from nations in going nuclear since nations have realised the importance of deterrence if a country is nuclear armed.

As is evident far reaching changes in the global security architecture are being seen post this conflict. The potential future hotspots like Taiwan, Palestine, Iran, Iraq and North Korea to name a few will get emboldened to see an impotent United States and its waning power of influence. This will give rogue nations like China, Iran and North Korea to give vent to their hidden ambitious plans and unleash them. We can certainly see the next conflict zone emerging in Taiwan. China is also building up its infrastructure along the LAC at Ladakh and the recently occupied disputed areas. Let’s not down play this aspect.

Impact on India

Today India’s foreign policy is heavily dependent on support from both the United States and Russia. There is a great deal of economic and military dependence on these nations. Therefore in the present context the stand of neutrality has held us in good stead. India’s growing stature in the world affairs has been a very welcome sign and bodes well for the future. However, we need to put our own house in order. A far greater impetus has to be given to self reliance. Niche industries within the country have to come up. We need to imbibe greater technologies such as block-chain, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and big data analytics in our work processes. The start up industry has to be given a big boost. The long pending reforms in the labour laws and ease of doing business need to be done. The world acknowledges India as an emerging market, therefore, we need to exploit this sentiment and push the agenda in a more forceful manner.

The war in Ukraine is a stern reminder to all the nations that war only brings misery and destruction. It’s not a solution to a problem but further aggravates the environment into a state of chaos. It de-stabilises economies of weaker nations and causes immense suffering to mankind. There are better ways to resolve conflicts in our new world order, if we shed our parochial approach and see issues with clear lenses of impartiality and well being.

The future of nations like Ukraine after such devastation should serve as a stern reminder that more we run from conflict, / The more it masters us; / The more we try to avoid it, / The more it controls us; / The less we fear conflict, / The less it confuses us; / The less we deny our differences, / The less they divide us. – David Augsburger


Maj Gen (Dr) Rajan Kochhar, VSM (Retd) is an Indian Army veteran. He is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College and College of Defence Management. He is presently a Senior Adviser with Defence Research and Studies and PCRI, Member MP IDSA, CENJOWS and SamDES. His recent book on “Breaking the Chinese Myth” has been a best seller on Amazon.


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Kalidan Singh

Apr 22, 2022
The Russian attack on Ukraine is very sobering, it should scare us into action. We are losing this; both US and Russia will not forget that we eventually worked against their interest (never mind that it was the only thing we could do). Both Russia and US will find evidence (if selective) to suggest that they cannot count on India. Europe and US will take care of each other; we have no relevance in that equation. Russia will find new equilibrium in east and west, on account of possessing vast amounts of minerals. Where are we after this? I suspect closer to the 'irrelevant' end of the continuum. I hope and pray that we pay close attention and fix our own divided house. At present, we have no control on population, the economy is hampered by endemic corruption, and Indian manufacturing remains sub par. There is no transparency, the bureaucracy is an extortion racket. Our banks have largely served to fund credit frauds. We need serious reform; and an economy that can take care of itself without fear of offending two blocs that we have no control over (i.e., we have no influence on US-EU, nor Russia-China). I wish every success to the present government; they have a tough job to do (and a lot of capable people to do it with).

Krishan Chauhan

Apr 20, 2022
Thank you Sir, you have very well discussed the issues of the war. You have also elaborated well on the Indian neutrality and the western attempts to wean it to their side. Sir, like all wars,this has also brought miseries to millions of persons. In the middle of the covid pandemic, this war also constricted the supply of wheat, edible oil and petroleum to the world. No country is spared and billions are moving to poverty in all countries of the world due to the double jeopardy. India may be neutral but is equally affected by steep inflation. Let wisdom prevail in the two leaders of Ukraine and Russia so that the widespread devastating and impending poverty is limited. Thanks once again.

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