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INDIA - A NEW GLOBAL VOICE
While the Group-7 countries (Canada, France, Germany Italy, Japan, the UK and the US) established in 1975 is a group of powerful industrialised Western nations who exert influence across the world, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) formed in 2009 is a group of globally most important emerging market economies wanting to have a much larger say in global affairs as well as foster global development with special emphasis on the Global South. The former (including the EU) has a population of 987 million with a GDP of US$34 trillion while the latter has a population of 3 billion with a GDP of US$23.5 trillion. While the US led G-7 mainly focusses on rule based international order, security and strategies against China and Russia, the BRICS is a multi-ethnic coalition of nations, committed to uphold international law and the central role of the United Nations in the international system and trying to address the economic challenges of the Global South.
The G -7 and the BRICS have competing views on the international order in which the former believes that they are world’s norm-setters influencing other countries policies. Therefore, the rule based international order, from the G-7 perspective, is centred around the US exercising control over the sovereignty of many countries. No wonder the US led NATO sees more assertive China and Russia presenting systemic challenge to their rule based international order. On the other hand, BRICS and countries in the Global South are committed to international law enshrined in the UN - promoting economic and social development as well as advancing international peace and security through international treaties and conventions. Clearly the BRICS and G-7 represent two distinctive global governance propositions and differ on their vision of economic development and globalisation.
The G-7’s launch of the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative as an alternative to China’s Belts and Road Initiative (BRI) reeks of power politics instead of a genuine desire to help the Global South. The failure to get Russia isolated on Ukraine war in the back-toback meetings of BRICS and G-7 in 2022 have been big setbacks for the US. The G-7 continues to pursue unilateralism and global hegemony and the BRICS is emerging as a real challenge to the West. However, the BRICS potential to challenge the US led global order is undermined by the internal makeup of the group, lack ideological homogeneity and capacity to develop a collective foreign policy. Presence of Indian PM Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, two prominent BRICS leaders as guests of German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz at the G-7 Summit is an indicator of BRICS prominence in global affairs. Despite the lack of internal cohesion, the BRICS still represents both a developmental and geopolitical challenge to the US led G-7 as China has been able present a non-capitalist market-oriented development alternative to the West and India’s voice is being heard globally more than ever before.
The G -7 knows that global green transition and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets cannot be achieved without India. For its ambitions, India needs G-7 investment, technology, and green finance. The last G-7 summit took place under the shadows of the Ukraine war, which has threatened economic recovery and the many issues in Indo-Pacific Region still remains unresolved and the leaders reiterated the “importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific”, and reminded China to “abstain from threats, coercion, intimidation measures or use of force”. Narendra Modi, along with the leaders of Argentina, Indonesia, Senegal, and South Africa, also attended some of the sessions.
India now has very strong economic and strategic ties G-7 and EU and the Indian economy is likely to be one of the fastest growing economies in the post-pandemic phase, partnership with India is attractive for the West. Modi rightly focused on strengths of the Indian economy, its ambitious climate targets and performance, and contribution to global food security. The G-7 relations with Russia are bad, and tensions with China have grown. In these circumstances, strengthening partnership with New Delhi is useful for the G-7. Indeed, the BRICS is fast emerging as a direct competitor to the G-7 and the possible entry of Argentina and Iran may turn BRICS into a geopolitical, entity. While G-7 will continue to fight for unity and relevance, Russia, China, and their supporters will invest in various economic, political and even military infrastructures, in the hope of creating a permanent and sustainable counterbalance to Western dominance. India is fast emerging as most important voice on the global fora expected to be helping bridging gaps between the west dominated G-7 and EU and South Global Economies represented through G-20, SCO and the BRICS.
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE PERSONAL
COL RAJESH BHUKAR The author is a Post Graduate in International Studies, Alumni of Defense Services Staff College, Wellington and College of Combat, Mhow [email protected]