A role for India in a world wide web

Source– The post is based on the article “A role for India in a world wide web” published in The Hindu on 20th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Effects of policies of developed and developing countries on India interests

Relevance– India foreign policy in changing world order

News– The article explains the case of leadership role for India in new global power equations. It explains the available foreign policy choices for India in the changing world order.

Recently Foreign MInister gave a statement on India’s role in global politics. He stated that India can play a “stabilising” and “bridging” role in the world and can contribute towards the de-risking of the global economy and depolarise the world.

What is the conventional notion of world leadership?

It relies on the economic and hard-power assumptions.

It is military strength, nuclear capacity and level of economic development and soft power that decides any country’s stature in international politics.

Sould India look for a leadership role in the new world order?

India has the world’s fourth-strongest army.

In case of nuclear capacity, India’s status having been made clear in 1998, and then formally recognised in the India-U.S. nuclear deal some years later.

it is already the world’s third largest economy in PPP.

India is a land of paradoxes. So many speak about India as a great power of the 21st century when we are not yet able to feed, educate and employ all our people.

So it is not economic growth, military strength or population numbers that would underscore our nation’s potential role in the world of the 21st century. Rather, it is a transformation of the terms of global exchange and the way countries adapt to the new international, interlinked landscape that will shape their future role and direction.

India should not look for the role of “world leader”. It should become an active participant in a world that is no longer defined by parameters such as “superpowers” or “great powers”.

What are the new dynamics of international politics?

Old binaries of the Cold War era are no longer relevant. The distinction between domestic and international is less and less meaningful in today’s world.

Foreign policy is no longer just foreign. There is a need to think of its domestic implications. The ultimate purpose of any country’s foreign policy is to promote the security and well-being of its own citizens.

One defining paradigm for foreign policy is impossible for today’s world. India cannot simply be non-aligned between two superpowers when one of them sits on our borders and nibbles at our territory.

It can not  afford to sacrifice strategic autonomy in a quest for self-protection. We need to define a new role for ourselves that depends on our understanding of the way the world is.

There will be  multiple networks, which will sometimes overlap with each other with common memberships, and sometimes be distinct. But they all serve our interests in different ways and for different purposes.

What is the unique position of India in global affairs?

India belongs both to the non-aligned movement and western democracies. India is a leading light of grouping developing countries, the G-77. It is also part of G-20 grouping. India plays an influential role both in the United Nations, a universal organisation that has 193 member states, and in the SAARC that has only its seven neighbours.

India has the great ability to be in all these great institutional networks, pursuing different objectives with different partners. It has moved beyond non-alignment to multi-alignment.

What is the way forward for India foreign policy?

Today, India can take its sovereignty for granted. Our strategic autonomy is a fact of life and no longer something that has to be fought for.

Our country is now in a position to exercise a vision of responsibility on the world stage. It can assume the new role of participating in the making of global rules and even playing a role in imposing them.

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