A New Road In India’s Journey Of The Global Rise

December 4, 2022

PM Modi signifies the significant India in the global arena

The departing year has ushered in a new stretch in India’s journey towards attaining its rightful place in the world. New Delhi officially assumed the G20 presidency on 1 December. This also means over 200 G20 meetings across 55 different cities over the next year. In other words, some representation from the world’s top 19 economies in the country every other day on average. These countries shall strive to make a positive change to the world under India’s stewardship.

The G20 has for the first time enjoys a host that will take the grouping to its heart, one might say as G20 delegates will get to see more than 50 diverse Indian cities. India will also be the place for the next G20 summit in the second half of the next year. One hopes this event will be qualitatively different from other such multinational events held in the country so far. None of these events had the presence of all of the world’s top economies, including all permanent UN Security Council members. It will indeed be among the top international meetings in independent India’s 75-year-long history.

Few organizations equal the heft commanded by G20. It represents a whopping 85 per cent of the global GDP and 75 per cent of the world trade. The group’s member countries account for about two-thirds of all humanity. This is not only India’s golden chance to steer the world out of many current afflictions but also to lead with its own wisdom. We should make the most of this opportunity by promoting trade with the top-performing economies. In a manner true to his style, PM Narendra Modi has assumed this leadership role with a resounding message of the country’s preparedness to meet the world’s expectations. His mantra of “One Earth, One Family, and One Future” is India’s assurance to the global community that it will safeguard the universal spirit of unity.

Much has been talked about PM Modi’s statement. But India’s changing role in the current circumstances deserves a closer look. The world is at a crossroads and many people see it moving on the path of a new order. PM Modi is undoubtedly influencing the global response to the most vital contemporary issues, much as he is successfully leading the country. Conditions have never been more favorable for India’s global rise.

India has come out relatively unscathed from the pandemic if we compare it with major democracies. It became possible only due to wise decisions like the disbursal of free ration to 80 crore families and efficient management of the vaccination campaign. A timely lockdown also helped matters. More than 80 crore needy people could make it out under PM Modi’s leadership at a time when even countries the size of any big Indian metropolitan were struggling.

Contrast it with the abyss that China’s insistence on dealing with the situation with an iron hammer has led that country to. It is not only about saving lives but also the livelihoods and the world has acknowledged Prime Minister’s performance on both counts.

We are the fastest-growing major global economy. Our foreign policy has succeeded in protecting national interests in a polarized world. Our global profile was never more impressive. Following the path of “India First,” we have managed to balance the competing powers in a way that both of them need us. Neither of the superpowers can afford to ignore India. It is an achievement unrivalled by any country at a time when they are on competing sides in the Ukraine war. India has its own successful models in the field of health, public distribution, financial inclusion, foreign policy and defense policy. The elephant was never so sure of its feet since it broke the British shackles.

The G20 leadership has come with its challenges. India’s acceptance across all geo-political poles will be a valuable asset in meeting them. The world is currently grappling with economic headwinds and recession is around the corner. PM Modi will also have to find ways to bridge increasing differences between the member countries and cool temperatures on the Ukraine front. He will be personally participating in the grouping’s focused sessions on food and energy security, digital transformation and health. This stint will be an opportunity for him to discuss pressing issues like the economy, environment and agricultural crisis with the world leaders. Humanity’s future rests on sorting things out in these sectors.

Meaningful progress in these deliberations can help us secure long-term economic growth and future security in food, energy and fertilizers. India will also be focusing on the climate change issue. The latest report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests reaching net zero emission levels by 2050 to keep the global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius. The western world has so far failed to make progress on this front. New Delhi will look to make a positive difference in forging a global consensus. It can lead by the example of its own stellar achievements in the renewable energy field. India ranks among the world’s top five performing countries and the best among the G20 nations in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2023.

The index published by the German Watch, New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network International did not award the first, second or third ranks to any country and Denmark, Sweden, Chile and Morocco were the only countries that were ranked above India. Therefore, we can say that India’s rank is in effect the best among all large economies. It has improved two ranks from the previous year. Terrorism is another important issue. India can give a straightforward message on this issue to Pakistan and China in its role as the G20 President. Its attempt should be to forge a consensus within the group on this issue.

India was scheduled to assume this role in 2022. However, tensions in Ukraine and Taiwan delayed things. Both these conflicts continue to simmer. Both the main actors have problems at home to deal with. While President Xi Jinping’s untenable zero Covid policy is turning him into a villain of sorts domestically, there seems no end to his American counterpart’s Republican woes. None of them can afford to appear as soft on Taiwan and Ukraine issues. PM Modi may have to use instant diplomacy to moderate if the situation arises.

The Prime Minister has given some insight into his likely approach to striking this balance. Giving the world a dream of “One Earth, One Family, and One Future, he has delivered the message of cooperation. Entire global community endorsed it when he told Putin that this was “no time for war.” This sentiment was incorporated in the G20 Bali declaration in almost the same words. It remains to be seen how far the world powers would be willing to walk to meet the shared common goal of progress.