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G20 criticism of Russia shows the rise of a new Asian power. And it’s not China

G20 criticism of Russia shows the rise of a new Asian power.  And it’s not China

 


hong kong CNN When world leaders gathered at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, issued a joint statement Condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine, a familiar phrase emerged from the 1,186-page document.

Today’s era must not be one of war, he said, echoing what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian leader Vladimir Putin during a face to face meeting in September.

Media and officials in the country of 1.3 billion people were quick to claim inclusion as a sign that the world’s largest democracy had played a vital role in bridging the differences between an increasingly Russia more isolated and the United States and its allies.

How India united the G20 on PM Modis’ idea of ​​peace, held a big title in the Times of India, the largest English-language newspaper in the country. The Prime Minister’s message that this is not the age of war resonated very deeply in all delegations and helped bridge the gap between different parties, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Wednesday. .

The statement came as Indonesian President Joko Widodo handed over the G20 presidency to Modi, who will host the next leaders’ summit in India’s capital New Delhi in September 2023 about six months before he goes to the polls in general elections and a contest. first place in the country for the third time.

As New Delhi deftly balances its ties with Russia and the West, Modi, analysts say, is emerging as a leader who has been courted by all parties, winning him support at home, while cementing India in as an international power broker.

The national narrative is that the G20 summit is being used as a big banner in Modis’ election campaign to show he is a great global statesman, said Sushant Singh, senior fellow at the New Delhi-based think tank for policy research. And India’s current rulers now see themselves as a mighty country sitting at the high table.

In some ways, India’s presence at the G20 has been overshadowed by the much-anticipated meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden, and the scramble to investigate the murder of two Polish citizens after what Warsaw said, a Russian-made missile landed in a village near NATO members’ border with Ukraine.

Global headlines covered in detail how Biden and Xi met for three hours on Monday, in a bid to keep their rivalry from turning into open conflict. And on Wednesday, G7 and NATO leaders called an emergency meeting in Bali to discuss the explosion in Poland.

Modi, on the other hand, held a series of talks with several world leaders, including Britain’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, ranging from food security and the environment to health and economic recovery while largely avoiding condemnation. categorically the aggression of Putin, while continuing to distance his country from Russia.

While India had a modest agenda for the G20 around energy, climate and economic turbulence due to war, Western leaders are listening to India as a major player in the region, because India is a a country close to both the West and Russia, said Happymon Jacob, an associate professor of diplomacy and disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.

New Delhi has had close ties with Moscow since the Cold War, and India remains heavily dependent on the Kremlin for military equipment, a vital link given India’s ongoing tensions on its common Himalayan border with an increasingly China. more assertive.

At the same time, New Delhi has moved closer to the West as leaders try to counter Beijing’s rise, putting India in a strategically comfortable position.

One of the ways India has made an impact at the G20 is that it appears to be one of the few countries that can engage all parties, said Harsh V. Pant, professor of international relations at Kings College London. . It is a role that India has been able to fill between several antagonists.

Since the start of the war, India has repeatedly called for an end to violence in Ukraine, without outright condemning the Russian invasion.

But as Putin’s aggression has escalated, killing thousands and throwing the global economy into chaos, analysts say India’s limits are being tested.

Observers point out that Modis’ stronger language towards Putin in recent months was made in the context rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices, and the difficulties this created for other countries. And while this year’s G20 was viewed through the lens of war, India could put its own agenda on the table next year.

India’s assumption of the presidency comes at a time when the world attaches great importance to renewable energy, rising prices and inflation, JNU’s Jacob said. And there is a feeling that India is seen as a key country that can meet the needs of the region in South Asia and beyond.

Soaring world prices for a number of energy sources in the aftermath of the war are hammering consumers, who are already struggling with rising food prices and inflation.

Speaking at the end of the G20 summit on Wednesday, Modi said India was taking matters into its own hands at a time when the world was grappling with geopolitical tensions, an economic slowdown, rising food prices and energy and the long-term adverse effects of the pandemic.

I want to ensure that India’s G20 Presidency will be inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented, he said in his speech.

India’s positioning for next year’s summit is largely about being the voice of the developing world and the global South, said Pant, of Kings College London.

Modis’ idea is to project India as a country capable of responding to today’s challenges by echoing the concerns of some of the poorest countries about the contemporary world order.

As India prepares to assume the G20 presidency, all eyes are on Modi as he also kicks off his campaign for India’s 2024 national elections.

Domestically, his populist Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Parties (BJP) politics have polarized the nation.

While Modi remains hugely popular in a country where around 80% of the population is Hindu, his government has been repeatedly criticized for its crackdown on free speech and discriminatory policies towards minority groups.

Amid this criticism, Modis’ political allies have been keen to highlight his international credentials, portraying him as a key player in global order.

(The BJP) sees the Modis G20 meetings as a political message that it boosts India’s image abroad and forges strong partnerships, said Singh, of the Center for Policy Research.

This week, India and Britain announced they are moving forward with a much-anticipated young professionals scheme between the UK and India, which will see 3,000 graduate Indian nationals aged between 18 to 30 years old to live and work in the UK for up to two years. .

Meanwhile, Modis Twitter released a flurry of smiling photographs and videos of the leader with his Western counterparts.

His national image remains strong, Singh said, adding that it remains to be seen whether Modi can maintain his cautious poise as the war progresses.

But I think its international position comes from its national position. And if it remains strong, then international audiences are bound to respect it.

Sources

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