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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS       India’s moment under the diplomatic sun must be used

 

Source: The Hindu

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, G20, Global south, Inflation etc.
  • Mains GS Paper II & III: Significance of G20 countries, Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests.

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • India has assumed the prestigious G20 presidency and is hosting various G20 meets.
    • Later this year, it will host, G20 Leaders’ Summit.

Current Affairs

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

G20:

  • The G20 is an informal group:19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • The G20 Presidency rotates annually: according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time.
  • For the selection of the presidency: 19 countries are divided into 5 groups, each having no more than 4 countries.
    • The presidency rotates between each group.
  • Every year the G20 selects a country from another group to be president.
    • India is in Group 2 which also has Russia, South Africa, and Turkey.
  • The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or Headquarters.

 

Meetings hosted so far:

  • G-20 Foreign Ministers meeting (March 1-2, 2023)
  • G-20 Finance Ministers meeting (February 22-25)
  • Quad Foreign Ministers meeting (March 3)
  • Global leaders and thinkers attending the Ministry of External Affairs-supported Raisina dialogue (March 2-4).
  • Voice of Global South Summit’ (January 12–13).

 

Impact:

  • India’s pivotal position at the G-20, the Quad, the SCO and the Global South has given it a sudden surge in stature and reputation.

 

India’s role in the world:

  • Indian leaders, from Jawaharlal Nehru to A.B. Vajpayee and Narendra Modi have spoken of India’s role in the world — because of its culture, history, demography and economic strength.

 

Contemporary Indian foreign policy:

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar book, The India Way:“advancing national interests by identifying and exploiting opportunities created by global contradictions”.
  • India has become adept at playing both sides (though not without its costs).
  • India is the chair of both the United States/West-led G-20, and the China-centered SCO at the same time.
  • The Ukraine war: India has not alienated, directly or indirectly, any of the parties involved in the war in a big way.
  • Threat of China has brought it closer to the U.S. and the West
  • India is also an active member of multilateral forums which has China in it — BRICS and the SCO.
  • Contemporary Indian policy: combination of revisionism and status quoism

 

What does India want?

  • India has long wanted a seat at the global high table-United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
  • India has hinted at the dysfunctionality of the UNSC and utility of more inclusive and flexible forums such as the G-20.
  • The Prime Minister said at the G-20 Foreign Ministers meeting that “global governance has failed”
    • He said:
      • “We are meeting at a time of deep global divisions.
      • We have a responsibility to those not in this room”,
      • underscoring the importance of the G-20 and India’s role in it.
    • Impact:
      • The meeting ended without a joint statement thanks to the Ukraine war
      • success:
        • It created the environment for the U.S. Secretary of State and the Russian Foreign Minister to have a meeting for the first time since the war began a year ago
        • when most other forums are unable to bring together the warring parties in one room, the G-20 has been able to do it.
      • India is actively seeking a seat at a restructured global high table, the G-20 has its utility as does the Global South.

 

The challenges

  • Indian chairmanship of the G-20 and the SCO ends this year, and China will not let India take over the leadership of the Global South so easily.
  • Some of the language that emanates from India in response to western or the U.S.’s statements/criticisms could be construed as needlessly offensive.
    • Indian diplomacy needs to adopt the language of finesse and authority rather than that of aggression.
  • Balancing opposites has its limits: India might not end up making strong strategic partnerships that should come to your aid
    • While bridging the divide in world politics indecisiveness might not yield lasting partnerships.
  • There is always a danger of governments using diplomatic highs such as this towards domestic political ends rather than for geopolitical objectives.

 

Way Forward

  • The solid foundations laid through the decades are starting to make a difference.
  • Contemporary India’s pivotal position in world politics is thanks to a fortunate confluence of deliberate and unforeseen factors which appear to be working in India’s favor.
  • A far stronger economic and military power, courted by great powers, India has cleverly used the failure of the post-war world order today to its advantage.
  • The worry about an aggressively rising China has further prompted global leaders to look for geopolitical alternatives in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • India has understood the instrumental utility of the Global South argument in its pursuit of power and status.
    • If China can use the Global South argument for its geopolitical ends, India can definitely do so too.
  • India has realized that it is its ability to carefully balance the global fault lines that increases its utility.
  • Those seeking to enlist India’s support for bringing more stability and order into the international system might want to consider what India is really after: a seat at the high table of international politics.
  • India’s revisionist language is rooted in its desire to be part of a restructured status quo.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

The long sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalized nations has disappeared on account of its new found role in the emerging global order.’ Elaborate(UPSC 2019) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)