India A Preferred Global Partner – OpEd


India has assumed the leadership of the G-20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) for 2023, and has planned a series of meetings. While defining the thrust of India’s G20 presidency, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar has often talked about India serving as “The Voice of the Global South.” Acting on this concept, the government took the decision to convene a virtual summit of developing countries on 12–13 January 2023 and christened it as the “Voice of the Global South Summit.” It was projected as the largest digital conference of the Leaders and Ministers of the developing world.

A total of 125 nations took part in the digital conference. The geographical breakup was: 29 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, 47 countries from Africa, 7 countries from Europe, 31 countries from Asia, and 11 countries from Oceania. Of them, 11 countries participated at the Leaders’ level at the inaugural session and 7 countries took part in deliberations at the concluding session, 

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

The SCO is emerging as an important regional organisation in Eurasia given that its membership (China, Russia, India, Pakistan and the Central Asian Republics) represents more than 40 per cent of the world population and nearly a quarter of the global GDP. At the Samarkand meeting of SCO heads of states it decided to put more emphasis on tangible initiatives of regional economic cooperation. The theme chosen by India as chair: ‘For a SECURE SCO’, which stands for “Security, Economic Connectivity, Unity and Respect for the Environment”. The SCO’s appeal is certainly growing in the region. SCO summit will take place in July in India.

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa)

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) foreign ministers’ meeting in South Africa in June will add heft to these consultations because India would also use the occasion to continue its efforts to revive the trilateral engagement under IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa). The BRICS summit is slated for August in Durban, South Africa. 

The coming together of the BRICS countries falling on different continents lacks traditional logic.They are dispersed geographically, ideologically and their economies are in different stages of development. The BRICS five countries cover 40 percent of the world’s population and more than 25 percent of the world’s land. The group continues to meet and to talk on common agenda. China is now the near largest economy and India has surpassed China in population. The combined population of China and India is nearly 3 billion, accounting for more than 30 percent of the world’s population. However, the two immediate neighbours clash on almost all issues! 

BRICS Currency: Challenge US Dollar’s dominance?

The dominance of US dollar in global trade is facing a significant challenge as emerging global economies, such as China and India, step forward to trade in their own currencies. Besides, countries either seen as aligned or neutral by the West in terms of the ongoing Russian offensive in Ukraine, are increasingly banding together to focus on mutual global finance.

The BRICS countries are reportedly exploring the creation of a common currency for trade amongst themselves. A new financial arrangement, seen with a potential to translate into a common BRICS currency, could be announced as soon as in August 2023 at the forthcoming BRICS summit in South Africa.

India Association With Other Groupings.

Indonesia, as the ASEAN chair, has advanced the ‘ASEAN Plus One’ meeting and the East Asia Summit to early September from November to facilitate the participation of global leaders in the G20 summit in India. The ASEAN-India summit can also be held at that time. The ASEAN-India foreign ministers’ meeting will take place prior to that.

Latin America the neglected region is now being engaged through the visit of the EAM Jaishankar to Guyana, Panama, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. EAM met the foreign ministers of 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM).In Panama the EAM will meet representatives from the eight-country Central American Integration System (SICA), thus engaging with both the Caribbean and Central America. 

India now seems ready to have the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-IV) in an African country. The EAM recently visited Uganda and Mozambique. Uganda is the new chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in which India is evincing great interest. 

SCO and BRICS ‘Anti-West’?

The emerging SCO and BRICS are seen by some as ‘Anti-West’ alliance. Economically-Yes, however, these are no military alliances like the NATO. SCO countries also have forged deep economic and financial linkages with the US and European countries. 

India is a preferred partner of the US in the latter’s Indo-Pacific strategy and a key member of the QUAD (comprising US, India, Australia and Japan), an alliance largely perceived as an instrument to contain China’s rise. For now, India is a preferred Global partner.

India will also have to decide how it would accommodate its differences with China within the SCO and the BRICS. SCO members will have to work out to how to honour the ‘Comprehensive Action Plan (2023-2027) for Implementation of Long-Term Good Neighbourliness, Friendship, and Cooperation among the SCO Members’ that was adopted in Samarkand to attain alignment in common areas of interest?

India and China need to restore their relations to a normal diplomatic state as soon as possible, which is not only beneficial to both countries but also meets the widespread expectation of the international community in this year’s G20 theme. India has also put issues of concern to developing countries. On these global issues, India and China have similar positions, and the two populous countries sincerely need to be working together. Russian-Ukraine conflict yet provides an opportunity for India and China to get the warring nations to a negotiating table as both countries are acceptable to Russian and Ukraine. However, China is not likely to be acceptable to the US and West as a Peacemaker to “play a constructive role in promoting talks.”

India’s leadership of the G-20 and the SCO for 2023 has provided the opportunity to hold a series of meetings of the world leaders across all forums. During the year, there are some scheduled annual meetings, such as the BRICS, ASEAN, the East Asia Summit (EAS) and many more. India is fast emerging as the ‘Voice of Global South’ and these interactions have enhanced India’s image as a dependable development partner of the Globe. India is re-evaluating its development cooperation efforts. 

The theme of India’s G20 Presidency :“Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” “One Earth -One Family – One Future.”

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

One thought on “India A Preferred Global Partner – OpEd

  • April 29, 2023 at 8:49 am

    A very balanced article highlighting the positive aspect for India to play role to address the regional and global developments, particularly on prospect of India China relations who hold one third of global populations and are biggest producers and consumers of goods and services, thus key players of world’s economy.


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