Words from Bandung to relive in Bali and Delhi

Source: The post is based on an article “Words from Bandung to relive in Bali and Delhi” published in the “The Hindu” on 7th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 International Relations; Bilateral Relations, Multilateral Organization

Relevance: Rule based International Order;

News: In the last month, the BRICS Summit, the G-7 summit, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit were held. The Indian Prime Minister attended the BRICS summit and the G-7 Summit. India was not a part of the NATO summit.

What are the emerging issues in the statements of these plurilateral/ multilateral meetings?

The BRICS Beijing Declaration

Both Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin mostly targeted the unilateral economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Russia.

The BRICS economic initiatives are poised to challenge the western-led sanctions against Russia. For example:

(1) The New Development Bank (NDB) has approved about 17 loans for Russian energy and infrastructure projects,

(2) The Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), and a BRICS Payments Task Force (BPTF) aims to coordinate between their central banks for an alternative to the SWIFT payments system.

(3) Mr. Putin also proposed building a global reserve currency based on a “basket of currencies” and trading in local currencies.

The G-7 Summit Statement

In a number of statements, the members targeted Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s economic aggression.

The grouping also released the “Resilient Democracies” and “Clean and Just Transitions towards Climate Neutrality” outreach document, on which India and other invitees signed. However, invitees were not allowed to mention their stand on the Ukraine issue.

The NATO meeting

In its number statements, NATO members had committed themselves to take more actions against “Russian aggression”. They called China’s action a form of “systemic competition”, which is a challenge to NATO “interests, security and values”.

Therefore, The U.S.’s trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific military allies sent out a clear message against a perceived Russia-China alliance.

Consequently, another Indo-Pacific coalition called the “Partners in the Blue Pacific” (PBP), was launched, in addition to last year’s Australia-U.K.-U.S. (AUKUS).

What are the Foreign Policy Challenges in front of India?

There is growing deep polarisation between the Western Atlantic-Pacific axis and the Russia-China combine, in the world.

India’s Foreign Policy seems to have a tightrope walk on the Russian issue. For example:

(1) On one side, India has been working hard to diversify its defence purchases from Russia. Further, India’ hostilities with China are at an all-time high. Therefore, India is also strategically moving towards the U.S. and Quad partners in the Indo-Pacific Region.

(2) On the other hand,

(a) India has chosen to neither condone Russia for its attacks on Ukraine, nor criticise it.

(b) Since the Western sanctions, India has increased import of oil, fertilizer, cement and other commodities, from Russia. This is being done using different means. For example, India is paying for the import, in the Chinese Yuan to circumvent sanctions.

What should be the approach of India’s foreign policy in the coming period?

India should seize the moment for leadership in a world that is becoming increasingly uncomfortable due to polarisation. In 1955, it was in such a similar moment that India took leadership that eventually led to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). “

For example, India is going to be the next President of the G-20. Therefore, it should work to ensure that the G-20 stays together. India should reassure those worried by the brinkmanship of the West on one side and Russia and China on the other.

India should bring together a large pool of independently like-minded countries who cannot afford hostilities, and want to avoid the possibility of a global war at all costs.

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