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The US and Russia are major powers with varied ideologies. The cold war between them commenced since Second World War in 1945. The establishment of the UN and human rights commissions post WW II was aimed to halt the war across the globe and to stop another world war and associated bloodshed.  But US and Russia were acting as proxies in many countries engaged in war. In the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam War, Korean War, Afghanistan war, Crimea crisis Syria etc, both nations had a direct intervention.

The recent development between US and Russia on the Ukraine issue has serious ramifications on the world economy. The Russian invasion was triggered when President Volodymyr Zelensky tried for Ukraine’s membership in NATO. The unconditional support by the US to Ukraine gave Zelensky the courage to defy Putin. The inclination of Ukraine toward the west has compelled Russia to attack Ukraine. Though Zelensky requested support from the U.S, Europe and NATO for military assistance, the Biden administration and the west have restricted their support to humanitarian rather than direct military support. Instead, the U.S along with European countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia, which had worse impacts worldwide. 

The move of Ukraine toward the western bloc is not good for Russia since Ukraine had a historical and cultural connection with Moscow. It is very difficult for Putin to let Ukraine drift toward the west. This is against the security interest of Russia. Putin wants to finish the war by installing a pro-Russian and anti-west government in Ukraine. South Asia, as usual, is at the receiving end now since crude and commodity prices have gone up worldwide.

It is also challenging for the U.S to play from all sides of the pitch as it faces two major communist regimes, Russia and China. The rise of China and the trade war between Washington and Beijing have brought both the International market into the competition. China’s economy is growing on a fast track in the last two decades, which has become a challenge for the US. The mega projects like CPEC and BRI spread across Asia, ASEAN and Europe, have maintained the growth momentum of China.  

With the fall of the Afghanistan government on 15th August 2021, the U.S withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan ended 20 years of war, the longest in US history. The Ukraine war has eclipsed Afghanistan’s crises and the world turned its attention tilted toward the Ukraine war. Afghanistan is having the worst humanitarian crisis since half of the population is starving and having the worst health problems.

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Recently Imran Khan blamed the US for the regime change in Pakistan. Khan believes that the U.S threatened Pakistan requesting his removal against future assistance and restoration of normal ties.  Khan’s ill-timed visit to Russia to meet with President Putin has also sparked the anger of the U.S against Khan’s government. Khan now blames the present Pakistan government as a puppet under the U.S. No monetary agency is risking to fund Pakistan to relieve them from their present crisis.                                          

The US has also warned the Indian government to boycott Russian oil and military hardware. But the Indian government refused to abide in the larger interest of the Indian people as well as to maintain the equilibrium between the India-Russia-China axis. The Russian attack has triggered inflation in India too like in other parts of South Asia. India does command a better position in the world and can influence both Russia and Ukraine to end the war. India stands nothing to lose in deliberating with the war-torn countries for an amicable settlement for the common good of the world.

The debt trap created by China triggered the turmoil in Srilanka. The current Ukraine crisis has added more trouble to Srilanka due to a shortage of fuel and food supply. The country is in an emergent state and the current government can fall at any given time. The economy of Nepal is also not in good shape since inflation has crossed 7 %.

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Although Russia has a strained relationship with the Europe and US after imposing serious sanctions, Putin is moving ahead with the war. Russia has also threatened the world that if Finland or Sweden joins NATO, the consequences will be severe. All the efforts to convince both presidents towards stopping the escalation of war have failed. The Russian army already captured major cities despite huge losses and claimed success in their operations. 

In nutshell, the Russian attack on Ukraine has serious consequences in South Asia. The war has created uncertainty, unemployment and inflation that will further destabilize the governments in the region. There is an urgent need to halt the Ukraine war and to form an inclusive government in Kyiv to ease the difficulties in the coming few months. The Ukraine migration has added an extra burden to Europe as well as to the world. In South Asia, the situation is not encouraging due to unstable governments. Escalation of the current war in Ukraine can put the South Asian governments under severe strain. The economy of all South Asian nations barring India can collapse in the coming months.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of India and Defence Research and Studies

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By Nadir Shah Katawazai

Nadir Shah is from Afghanistan and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. He is associated with the National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul. He is currently doing his masters in South Asian Studies (UMISARC department) at Pondicherry University, India.