Russian – Ukraine War : Are We Staring at Third World War-Col Virendra Kumar
President Biden has committed the authorization of a Presidential Drawdown of security assistance valued at up to $425 million, as well as $1.75 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds. Today’s announcement includes critical air defence capabilities to help Ukraine defend its people, as well as armoured infantry vehicles and more equipment that Ukraine is using so effectively, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, artillery ammunition, and conventional and long-range rockets for U.S.-
Let us glance through the latest developments in the war itself and globally.
Russia has planned to increase its military strength from one million to 1.5 million and will raise additional units.
Russia is modernising its nuclear forces. Russia will deploy its first warship with state-of-the-art hypersonic Zircon Missiles shortly.
New Russian ICBM Sarmat will be deployed shortly. It can dodge any air defence system.
President Biden has committed the authorization of a Presidential Drawdown of security assistance valued at up to $425 million, as well as $1.75 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds. Today’s announcement includes critical air defence capabilities to help Ukraine defend its people, as well as armoured infantry vehicles and more equipment that Ukraine is using so effectively, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, artillery ammunition, and conventional and long-range rockets for U.S.-provided HIMARS. The package includes ground-launched small-diameter bombs (GLSDB) which can hit targets 150km (93 miles) away. In total, the United States has now committed $30 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.
I do not have any doubt that GLSDB will hit Crimea sooner than later as this aid package becomes operational.
Ukraine is already assured of German Leopard tanks and US made M1 Abraham tanks. Total number may not exceed 100 but these are technological much superior tanks than existing Russian tanks.
Vladimir Putin has compared Russia's invasion of Ukraine to the fight against Nazi Germany, in a speech to mark the 80th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad.
Russia is not ready to lose and Western Block can not allow it to win. Ukraine has become incidental in the entire game except that nationalism of Ukraine has taken a front seat along with aspirations of Western block to subjugate Russia economically first and militarily as a follow up.
How the second world war expanded, Initially US was not part of the war against Germany but supplied military weapons to Allied forces. As the Pearl Harbour occurred, US had to jump in the war. History is repeating itself.
NATO and all the western block are providing all support to Ukraine except troops on the ground, though mercenaries and contractors are actively involved from Ukraine side. Private Armies are involved from Russian side as well. International partners are emerging from each side, South Korea and Japan in support of NATO and Iran and North Korea in support of Russia. In Europe also, Russia will manage some support from Belarus and Serbia. Belarus can find itself in more trouble by design or default because it has borders with Ukraine. From NATO side, Poland will be actively involved with Ukraine, due to WARSAW legacy factors.
This war is going to throw some interesting allies also, Pakistan supplying to Ukraine and China doing it bit for Russia, may create fissures between China and Pakistan provided Imran Khan is kept out of power. So, US will make all efforts to ensure a pipeline between Ukraine and Pakistan.
How about Israel? In a pragmatic response, it is not supplying any weapon to Ukraine while Ukraine is particularly interested in Air defines system from Israel. However, this situation may change if Iran gets more offensive against Israel or US influences Israel to join western block overtly.
Use of chemical weapons by either side will further aggravate the situation. Some Twitter reports suggest that Ukraine has already started using chemical weapons in the war.
As the war prolongs, China will find more and more difficult to avoid sanctions as West will continue to be suspicious of its intentions. Balloon incidents have augmented this suspicion. Incidents like this will continue and will increase cooperation between Chinese adversaries in Asia and NATO. Any action by China vis a vis Taiwan will definitely precipitate the escalation to global scale. Scale not seen before. You may find NATO in Indo pacific too.
Where does India stand in the entire game? While India will certainly keep away from Ukraine due to its relationship with Russia, it does not mean that it may not do so through third party in future. While Ukraine insistence to impose sanctions on India will not carry much traction with western block, future of this relationship may change as the war prolongs for the simple reason that India will have to find itself more and more aligned with western block as India will look for strategic autonomy which Western block is ready to accommodate, rather than with Russia and China. India will certainly try to leverage its relationship against China and India – Russia relationship will sustain till such time as weapon dependence on Russia continues and China keeps away from Ladakh. Any change in these two factors will have solid tilt towards QUAD, NATO entry in Indo- Pacific.
Latest Indo- US agreement on expanding joint defence production and technology is hinting at something big which is coming. Both Russia and Ukraine are consuming arms and ammunition at an alarming scale, it has become artillery war. While South Korea is supplying 155mm Artillery Shells to Ukraine at US behest, this list will increase and hence requirement of US to rope in India for manufacturing the same. India is already supplying sub-assemblies to US manufacturers. It will give a boost to Atma Nirbhar Bharat simultaneously it will deepen the Indo – US strategic relationship.
Iran will emerge as another surprise factor in this war. Its keenness to develop nuclear weapons and Israeli attempt to strangulate that effort, with or without US report, in all likelihood with US support only, will enhance the horizons of Russia – Ukraine war. US destruction of Chinese balloon over Atlantic Ocean and Chinese annoyance on use of force to do that, clearly shows that it was not an accidental balloon flying by China but a deliberate effort to check the nerves of Biden. The Show of bravado by Biden also proves that.
While it is not possible to predict the international events, one thing is certain that each country is preparing itself for tougher days ahead. Increased budget is pointing towards that direction also. Japan and Germany, potential military super powers will be spending more on defence and that shows that tough and tense days are ahead as more and more countries are forced to take sides. For India, strategic ambiguity and strategic autonomy will be the key words to follow while playing it cards carefully. Economic interest and strategic interests must be carefully weighed in, duly aligned. Incidentally when this escalation takes place, no body will be interested to know whether Putin was right or wrong in attacking Ukraine. Hope I am not proved right, that too in near future only.
Col Virendra Kumar, a Military Veteran with 27 years of Army , alumni of Pantnagar, IIM Bangalore , Symbiosis Pune ,wears multiple hats . He has got national and international exposure during his Army tenures and corporate stint with leading US MNC He is passionate about Military history , Indian history , national and international affairs .