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Sansad TV: Perspective- The Voice of Global South

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Introduction:

Respond, Recognise, Respect & Reform to re-energise the world…That’s the four-point mantra Prime Minister emphasised on at the Voice of Global South Summit convened by India. At the 2-day summit the Prime Minister made a case for “human-centric globalisation. Stressing that India has always stood for a greater role for developing countries in determining our common future, the Prime Minister said we want a globalisation that brings prosperity and well-being to humanity as a whole, not the kind that leads to unequal distribution of vaccines or over-concentrated global supply chains. A-125 countries participated in the virtual summit. These included 29 countries from Latin America & Caribbean, 47 countries from Africa, 7 countries from Europe, 31 countries from Asia and 11 countries from Oceania. In addition to providing a platform to countries of the global south to represent their concerns, ideas and suggestions, India made a few announcements to increase cooperation with countries in this part of the world, sharing its experiences and expertise for the well-being of people.

Aspects which India should look for:

  • The term Global South in common parlance is used for the countries which have low levels of economic and industrial development, which are mainly located in the southern part of the world and are located to the south of the industrialised, developed nations.
  • Foster the self-reliance of developing countries by enhancing their creative capacity to find solutions to their development problems in keeping with their own aspirations, values and specific needs;
  • India has the capabilities to take adequate care of its national interests and play a central role in ensuring peace, prosperity and security around the world.
  • From the era of non-alignment to bilateral strategic partnerships to memberships of multilateral groupings such as SCO, BRICS, QUAD and now I2U2, Indian diplomacy has smartly engineered its move to achieve its national economic and strategic objectives.
  • Under its Neighbourhood First Policy, India has been supplying power to Bangladesh and Nepal while championing a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation electricity grid.
    • Besides, India has been liberal in extending aid to its neighbours whenever required.
    • India must work to a well thought out strategy to achieve its well-deserved place in the emerging world order.
  • India can make a collective call for reforms in the UNSC. If not, then efforts must be taken to make UNGA ultimate authority to decide on international security.
  • India’s presence in Indian ocean and being net security provider in the region is already noted by littoral states and India must go on to leverage this to stop Chinese dominance.
  • Bilateral tie-ups with Japan in Asia-Africa Growth Corridor must come into fruition. Quad can counter Chinese narrative in the South China Sea.
  • India can use its closeness to Russia to negotiate a peace deal with Ukraine.

Inequalities and Challenges:

  • International law’s doctrines and principles have a distinct euro-centric character that, in turn, has created several structural imbalances when viewed from the perspective of the Global South.
  • Concomitantly, the Global South needs to reinvigorate other international organisations that it has created, to serve its interests.
  • Now is the time for the Global South to launch an NIEO 2.0 movement, which should decry the growing protectionism in the West, especially in the United States, and rising unilateralism, which is deeply undermining the Global South’s ability to benefit from international trade.

Way forward

  • Championing the Global South today would demand more active Indian engagement with the messy regional politics within the developing world.
  • India must also come to terms with the fact that the Global South is not a coherent group and does not have a single shared agenda. There is much differentiation within the South today in terms of wealth and power, needs and capabilities.
  • India is eager to become a bridge between the North and the South by focusing on practical outcomes rather than returning to old ideological battles. If India can translate this ambition into effective policy, there will be no contradiction between the simultaneous pursuit of universal and particular goals.

Conclusion

  • India’s equity in Africa is older and richer than that of China and the U.S., but that should not be a source of complacency.
  • India has striven hard, in the past two decades, to strengthen its political and economic partnership with Africa at the continental, regional and bilateral levels.
  • The Modi government created a special momentum in arranging high-level exchanges and forging cooperation initiatives during the 2015-19 period.