Covid-19 will change the world | HT Editorial
The coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) will change the structure of the current international order, and force nations to re-examine their economic paradigms and foreign policy.
The first fallout of Covid-19 is the deepening of tensions between the United States (US) and China. The rift between the two had escalated in the last few years, particularly on trade. But this geopolitical competition will now assume a raw, direct, and more aggressive form. Who emerges less bruised from the virus will be an important variable in determining future power equations. The second fallout will be on globalisation. There had been rising protectionism, especially in the West, in the last few years. But there will now be more widespread scepticism about international economic linkages, and an inward turn. There will be a push towards domestic manufacturing and reducing the reliance on external supply chains. The third is the strengthening of governments within states. Political regimes will use this moment to expand their powers. This is needed in times of a public health emergency, but measures, once instituted, are often not easily rolled back. This, in turn, can result in an erosion of the democratic frameworks globally.
India will be in the middle of all these changes. It may benefit from the intensified US-China rivalry, but will also have to make difficult choices. It will have to emerge from the economic crisis by relying largely on its own tools. And it will have to ensure that it retains its democratic character even as the State becomes more powerful.