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India aims for a bigger global role in the UN reforms drive

S. Jaishankar, India’s minister of external affairs, made a compelling case on Tuesday for the country to play a larger role in the world. He claimed that India will rise in the international system differently than any other country that came before it, and that its desire to become a “leading power” is not motivated by “self aggrandisement” but rather by a desire to shoulder more responsibility.theindiaprint.com india aims for a bigger global role in the un reforms drive download 2023 09 27t09

As further proof of India’s unique and responsible approach, he cited the nation’s G20 presidency, partnerships with a wide range of international actors as a “vishwa mitra” (friend of the world), New Delhi’s assistance to the Global South and its immediate neighborhood, as well as its own inclusive national development trajectory.

In his Tuesday speech at the 78th UN General Assembly high-level week, where he expressed India’s position, Jaishankar warned against the injustices in the global governance architecture, declared that injustice across domains will be challenged, and used the inclusion of the African Union in the G20 to provide a model for reforming and making the UN Security Council more representative.

Jaishankar utilized the international arena to promote India as a responsible and unique force, emboldened by the success of the G20 Delhi Leaders’ Summit and the backing of the Global South for India’s leadership.

“National interests are pursued by all countries. In India, we have never believed that to be in conflict with the greater good. When we want to be a leading power, it’s not for self-promotion but rather to assume more responsibility and provide more. The objectives we have set for ourselves would set us apart from everyone whose ascent came before us, said Jaishankar.

He provided four main illustrations of the Indian strategy.

The minister said that India had assumed leadership of the G20 with a feeling of “exceptional responsibility” despite the fact that the globe was going through a “exceptional period of turmoil” as a result of the pandemic, wars, and failure to meet developmental objectives. In the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “bridge divides, dismantle barriers, and sow seeds of collaboration that nourish a world, where unity prevails over discord and where shared destiny eclipses isolation,” India’s goal was to “focus on the key concerns of the many, not just the narrow interests of a few.”

Jaishankar said that the New Delhi summit demonstrated that “diplomacy and dialogue” are the only viable remedies at a time of extreme North-South division and East-West polarization. The goal, according to Jaishankar, was to acknowledge the variety, divergences, and even divisions within the global community. He said that “the days when a few countries set the agenda and expected others to fall in line are past…It is not a sign of weakness to appreciate others’ opinions and listen to them; this is the foundation of collaboration.

The foreign minister claimed that by holding the Voice of Global South summit to kick off its presidency, India was able to hear directly from 125 different nations, present their viewpoints to the G20, guarantee that important issues received a “fair hearing,” and produce results of great significance.

More particularly, he said that the African Union’s (AU) participation gave the “entire continent” the voice that it had long overdue, and he urged that this should motivate the UN to modernize the SC. After all, “broad representation is a prerequisite for both effectiveness and credibility.”

The action plan for the Sustainable Development Goals, the High Principles of LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), the Green Development Pact, recognition of digital public infrastructure (DPI), reform of the international financial institutions, addressing debt vulnerabilities, and importance given to women-led development were among the significant summit outcomes listed by Jaishankar. Jaishankar said, “We have put out for the world’s consideration a collection of concrete proposals, constructive solutions, and new paths.

The collaboration between New Delhi and other partners was the second illustration Jaishankar used to highlight India’s distinctive strategy. “We have progressed from the age of non-alignment to that of ‘vishwa mitra’. This is shown by our capacity and eagerness to cooperate with a wide spectrum of countries. As well as harmonizing interests as required.

Jaishankar mentioned the “rapid growth of Quad” in this context, describing it as a really important mechanism in the Indo-Pacific; the expansion of the Brics grouping “of independent-minded nations”; the emergence of the I2U2 (the grouping that includes India, Israel, the UAE, and the US); the beginning of the India-Middle East-European Economic Corridor; and the formation of the Global Biofuels Alliance. “This willingness to work in an open-minded manner on specific domains is now a defining characteristic of the emerging multipolar order,” the minister said.

Third, Jaishankar emphasized India’s role as a supporter in its immediate neighborhood, a first responder to natural calamities, and a friend of the global south. He provided specific instances, citing the Covid-19 vaccine maitri (friendship) initiative, the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, the International Year of Millets, development partnerships with 78 countries across geographies, assistance to the people of Turkey and Syria in times of emergency, India’s assistance to Sri Lanka during its “severe economic crisis,” and engagement even in remote areas like t

Jaishankar also made a connection between India’s global strategy and its own internal growth path. “The world’s most populous country, with the fifth-largest economy, is aware of the positive impact its development has on the rest of the globe. Particularly when so many countries associate with us due to our history, geography, and culture. They constantly monitor our experiences and assess our solutions for their wider applicability.

In light of this, he discussed the SDGs, the scarcity of resources, the need to strengthen capacities, and India’s special position as “the largest contributor to meeting SDG targets” and its achievements, such as the halving of the global multidimensional poverty index in 15 years and the lifting of 415 million people out of poverty.

“That progress has now moved on to a higher level, with ambitious socio-economic initiatives covering financial inclusion, food and nutrition, health and water supply, as well as energy and housing. We want to show that social welfare does not always belong to the industrialized world alone,” Jaishankar added. In particular, he highlighted how digital distribution of public goods enables program scaling up, improves efficiency, fights corruption, opens minds, inspires innovations, and instills trust.

Jaishankar stated that the UN summit of the future in 2024 should be a “serious opportunity to drive change, champion fairness, and reform multilateralism, including the expansion of the Security Council memberships” based on this pitch and a critique of the unfairness of the global order.

As evidenced by the Chandrayaan-3 mission, its digitally enabled governance, the expansion of amenities and services, growing infrastructure, the startup culture, vibrant cultural expressions, and most recently, the reservation of one third of seats for women in Indian legislatures, Jaishankar claimed that India was entering a period of greater progress and transformation where its talent and creativity would propel it forward.

“I speak for a society where democratic principles from long ago have taken root firmly in the present. We now have more honest and grounded thoughts, methods, and behaviors as a consequence. We bring tradition and technology to the table with equal assurance as a civilizational polity that welcomes modernity. Bharat, or India today, is defined by this combination, the minister said.

The Observer Research Foundation’s Harsh Pant stated of the address, “Jaishankar’s speech related skillfully the ambitions of a growing India to a changing global order. He was expressing India’s aim to contribute to global public goods, to be a source of solutions, and to be a leader in establishing the global governance agenda when he spoke about India shifting away from non-alignment to this notion of being a vishwa mitra.

Pant also stated that Jaishankar had voiced his “dissatisfaction” with the current system, where a few number of people made decisions for a big portion of the globe without their input. “Like it did during the G20 process, India is reinventing its global position and the global governance agenda as it sees the world through the lens of a major power. Additionally, it expresses the aspirations of a sizable segment of the global political community that feels alienated from the institutions of world administration.

 

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