India tests its new global role in the G20 | international

India is set to test its growing global standing at the G20 summit scheduled this weekend in New Delhi. The strength of economic growth, the success of the lunar mission, demographic priority, and India’s advantageous position as a key partner for the United States and Europe in times of eroding relations with China have contributed to the formation of India’s new power on the international stage. But the summit, which seems very complicated amid strong tensions, will demonstrate the extent of New Delhi’s influence and how…

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India is set to test its growing global role at the G20 summit scheduled for this weekend in New Delhi. The strength of economic growth, the success of the lunar mission, demographic priority, and India’s advantageous position as a key partner for the United States and Europe in times of eroding relations with China have contributed to the formation of India’s new power on the international stage. But the summit, which looks so complex in the midst of strong tensions, will demonstrate the extent of influence New Delhi wields and the viability of its multi-party game as it seeks to defend its interests.

India continues to maintain its traditional motto of non-alignment in foreign policy, while developing with increasing conviction the goal of becoming a strong and independent pole in a multipolar world. Its most pressing and important challenge is the fight with China, a rivalry that includes issues such as territorial disputes, competition for influence in the region, Beijing’s support for Pakistan and other sensitive factors. It is also from this perspective, and not only from the perspective of the deterioration of international relations, that the announced absence of Xi Jinping from the New Delhi summit, in addition to the absence of Vladimir Putin, must be explained.

The difficulties faced in previous negotiating efforts indicate that the possibility of concluding the summit without a consensual statement is not excluded. This would constitute a failure for the group as a whole in the first place, but the prestige of the Indian presidency would certainly be called into question. The tension between New Delhi and Beijing does not make things easier.

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The conflict with China – which along with others in the modern world goes hand in hand with a close economic relationship, very important for India in its infrastructure development and industrialization goals – can be seen behind the major movements on the global stage of the country led by India. Modi: His attempt to become a spokesman for the so-called Global South, New Delhi’s rapprochement with the United States, and India’s position in the BRICS forum.

As Narendra Modi and his foreign minister have said, India is aligning itself with its own interests. Among these reasons is the desire to prevent China from imposing its hegemony on the region to the extent that it prevents India from exercising its influence. This is key, and when you look at New Delhi’s relationship with the Global South, it should be seen largely as an attempt to be more influential than China in this area. An expert on India… In this battle, China has the advantage of its greatest economic means, but India is able to play its position outside the Washington-Beijing duality, which may constitute an advantage politically.

Efforts to establish itself as a great representative of the Global South form the main key to reading the Indian G20 presidency. New Delhi has tried to push an agenda that broadly embraces the viewpoint of that broad range of countries, from debt restructuring to the design of global financial institutions, and from climate change to food prices.

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On the other hand, the rapprochement between New Delhi and Washington over a shared distrust of Chinese prosperity is gaining momentum. The movement is not new, but it has gained speed, especially with Prime Minister Modi, who recently made a state visit to the United States where he was given the honor of addressing Parliament for the second time, a distinction achieved by very few leaders in history. Modi returned home with major defense technology transfer deals in store.

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“The rapprochement is not limited only to the United States, but also to its allies, whether European or Indo-Pacific,” points out Eva Borgueiro, a professor of political science at the Complutense University of Madrid who specializes in South Asia.

The relationship with China also represents India’s position in the BRICS group. It is a group that arose from the will of emerging countries not allied with the West and which demanded greater international political weight. Now, under pressure from Beijing, it has just taken steps to expand, while hostility towards the West is growing within the group – from Russia and China, among historical members, or with the upcoming integration of Iran. “India does not share this. Their moves in that group, even if they respond to their own logic, are in line with Western interests.

Grayer points out that India’s foreign policy witnessed a turning point after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which was the main supplier of Indian weapons. He continued to maintain a close relationship with Russia, which is one of the reasons why he did not condemn the invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations, but this increasingly assumed less importance in a global perspective and did not prevent Modi from launching critical messages to the Kremlin or acknowledging at the G20 summit in Last year was an uncomfortable statement for Moscow. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the approach to the United States has begun to take shape and the expert sees a line of continuity, with a more nationalistic tone, with necessary modifications due to the change in context, but without major changes in substance.

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Boreghiero points out how the official maintenance of non-alignment conceals “secret” changes. India has realized that this non-alignment has not helped prevent wars with China and Pakistan. New Delhi is concerned about its security, and without this security its ability to deal with internal problems is diminished. It is in this context that the building of this new dense network of relations with the United States and many of its allies must be viewed, for example, through the Quad formula (which brings together the United States, India, Japan, and Australia). This is not a formal alliance, let alone a military alliance, but an important membership in a dedicated forum that seeks to keep the Indo-Pacific “free and open,” a concept that carries high-level strategic connotations.

The other question is whether, and to what extent, the Hindu nationalism that Modi promotes internally, which provokes a strong rejection of India’s Muslim minority, is capable of deteriorating India’s relations with a wide range of Muslim countries. “I don’t think it has much of an impact,” says Grayer. “I’m not saying it’s irrelevant, but it’s not that important, and I don’t see it affecting international relations.”

All of these factors will come together at the New Delhi summit, which confirms, for better or worse, the ability of the Indian presidency to work in pursuit of consensus. As a senior European official noted, Indonesia, which held the previous G20 presidency, achieved a real breakthrough at the Bali summit in 2022 by drafting a consensus statement in an already very tense overall situation. This year’s event will provide important insights into the state of the global order, as well as India’s place in it.

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