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Out to Conquer!

Playing right, pursuing human centre policy framework with strategic independence will help Bharat regain its exalted status post G-20!


When Walter Russell Mead pointed to emergence of India as a world power after last week’s tremendously successful G-20 summit held under her Presidency, there were enough sneers and jeers from within the country.


The learned professor for foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College in New York may have been amused at the way Indian opposition parties’ criticism of G-20 summit in New Delhi that whipped up ‘hundred per cent consensus” declaration.

Mead, also a fellow in Strategy and Statesmanship at Hudson Institute was not out of place when he identified emergence of India as a world power as part of three tectonic shifts in global order.

The celebrated Wall Street Journal columnist beautifully summed up the post-summit world order as, “India rising, China and Russia seething, Europe shrinking and America dithering…”

This is not a solitary view that was available before, during or after the summit. African Union President Azali Assoumani went one step further to state that India has overtaken China as a super power that arrived on the global stage a few years back.

Let’s consider Jim O Neill, celebrated economist known for having coined acronym BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) group of developing countries descrition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi being the ‘ clear winner’.

Mead, Assoumani and O Neill may have differing views like several others on top global forums that would be relevant or those getting into diminution in medium to long term. Most were however were unanimous on India and Prime Minister Modi making the best out of G-20. And, they do not mince words on what holds out for India.

G-7’s waning influence is something that’s written on the wall and one would only be blind not to see it given Europe’s decline and Canada being in irretrievable mess of sorts.  

BRIC, on the other hand, as visualized by Jim O Neill was different from what the grouping has emerged to be today. South Africa joining the group of large developing countries in 1999 was the first step towards its expanding arc of influence.  Its first expansion however happened only last month when six countries were inducted as full members of BRICS turning it into leading to BRICS Plus.

On the parallel, G-20 would have been dead and irrelevant in case there was nothing substantive to take home in the ‘New Delhi’ declaration running into 83-paras on a clutch of global issues. G-20 Plus emergence with joining of African Union has rendered this group ‘prima dona’ position in global sweepstakes on economic and development order.

With Ukraine war becoming a sticking point in the negotiations, G-20 formally launched itself into realm of geo-political and security issues. This in turn led to expansion of its mandate albeit indirectly.

Aging outfits like United Nations and its umbrella of organizations have lost sheen to these emerging stars like the BRICS Plus or G-20 Plus. Given the intransigence to reform, Britten Wood institutions like World Bank and IMF may have to make way for new kids on the block in the development finance space. Fresher organizations like Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), BRICS New Development Bank or proposed outfits for Green Energy financing may take the decades old multi-lateral funding institutions.

Democratization of these organizations and reorienting them to finance developing and least developed countries is something Prime Minister Modi has been harping upon.

With Western Europe especially Germany, France and Italy losing pole position, it’s no brainer to say that Bharat has taken centre stage in global engagement.

Strategic independence in its foreign policy is something that has stood out big especially during last ten years. And, this open and flexible policy framework will work well at least another ten years. Not going the Russian or Western way on Ukraine war is an example to emulate going forward. Getting into one coterie or other is the easiest option that has been set aside by Prime Minister Modi and his point man Subramaniam Jaishankar and national security advisor Ajit Doval.

One factor to watch out for is China, its expansionist drive financed by oligarchs close to the country’s communist party and President Xi Jingping’s insatiable urge for complete control within and outside.

Over to Bharat!

(author is Director & Chief Executive, Centre for Integrated & Holistic Studies,  a non-partisan think tank based in New Delhi) 

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