Overall, the speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at the Global Voice of the South Summit in New Delhi on January 13 expresses a new thinking in foreign policy. India is deftly adapting to the decline of the West and embracing emerging multipolarity and multilateralism. In the ongoing historic transition in the world order, India looks to the Global South as its “natural constituency”.
The Prime Minister’s and EAM’s speeches indicate that India plans to push back against Western attempts to hijack the G20 summit scheduled to be held in Delhi in September.
The thought processes reflected in Modi and Jaishankar’s speeches are bold and progressive. The main themes can be summarized as follows: India’s concern about the growing geopolitical fragmentation of the international landscape and the injustices of the UN system where “some powers are singularly focused on their own interests”. The urgent need for fundamental reforms in major international organizations, especially the Bretton Woods institutions, with a focus on voicing the concerns of developing countries and “reflecting the realities of the 21st century”; “The burdens of the colonial past, even as we face the inequalities of the current world order”. “More multipolarity and revised multilateralism”; “More diversity and localization of capabilities”; and the bilateral composition of the G20 measured against the Global South.
Jaishankar dismissed the West’s collective destructive efforts to polarize the global order—our mindset against them—and stated, “From decolonization movements to resistance to alignment in the face of a highly polarized world, the Global South has always It shows the middle. A path where diplomacy, dialogue, and cooperation are prioritized over competition, conflict, and division.”
“Whether it’s the impact of the Covid pandemic, climate change, terrorism, ongoing conflicts and debt crises, the search for solutions ignores the needs and aspirations of the Global South,” Jaishankar said. So we want to ensure that India’s G-20 presidency gathers these voices, perspectives, priorities of the Global South and articulates it clearly in its discussions.”
Such a view is being expressed from New Delhi after a long time. Since the early 1990s, when India’s diplomacy gradually began to turn its back on the Global South, it preferred to work with the Western agenda to reset the norms of global governance. Basically, the so-called “Washington Consensus” was aimed at maintaining the dominance of the wealthy Western bloc through an ingenious way of forming alliances with a group of developing countries that played a secondary role. The G20 is an example of a paradigm called “rules-based order”.
In a memorable instance, Barack Obama praised our then Prime Minister at the G20 summit in Toronto in 2010, saying, “Whenever the Prime Minister of India speaks, the whole world listens.” He knew, we knew, and the whole world knew that Obama-speak was classic, with no fixed meaning in what he said. But those times were very soon after the US-India nuclear deal.
Our elites have come to believe that India’s interests are best served by acting as a ‘bridge’. But it is abundantly clear from Washington’s confrontation with Russia (and China) that there is no desire for a broad just world order. The G7 is once again imposing its mandate – even on the global oil market. Meanwhile, the epochal confrontation in Ukraine showed that the “rules-based order” in reality translates into the hegemonic position of the West in the world.
It was no surprise, then, that Jaishankar, in his speech, wryly said, “Those who were promised a connected world now actually see a world with higher walls.” He was referring to the pile of unfulfilled promises made by rich countries, with garbage lying around — for example, the burden of developing climate resilience, decarbonizing industrialization — “all at the same time, while managing disruptions and uncertainties.” they do. Global Supply Chains.”
The Prime Minister’s and EAM’s speeches indicate that India intends to push back against Western attempts to hijack the G20 summit scheduled to be held in New Delhi in September. Undoubtedly, the ideas and proposals presented by the two have been seriously considered by the G20 members.
Interestingly, Brazil has asked its JCPOA partners to postpone its presidency in this group from 2024 to 2025. Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad said last Wednesday: “We have postponed our chairmanship of the JCPOA so that it does not coincide with the G20.” The minister added that the goal of this move is to “do quality work in both cases.” Brazil’s newly elected socialist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said his foreign policy priorities include plans to revive integration processes in Latin America and highlight the role of BRICS and the Group of 20.
The bottom line is that most of the ideas expressed at the Global Voice of the South Summit have their roots in the BRICS negotiations. India is circling the wagons to avoid a repeat of the G20 summit in Bali, where Western countries strongly demanded that the “rules-based order” be loaded as a theme in the talks. A Modi government will surely annoy the ‘collective West’. Get ready to delve into the West’s toolbox to create a different backdrop for the September event.
However, as the status quo on the G20 agenda is unsustainable and a new world order is emerging, these are tantrums of desperation. The latest news from the Ukraine conflict is a historic failure of Western hegemony. A fundamentally different international system becomes inevitable. Modi’s optimism is fully justified. And it is only historically, morally, culturally and politically appropriate that India positions itself as the vanguard of change.