2023 will be seen in hindsight as the year in which India grew out of its prior role as a regional player and became a truly global one whose potential is far from being fully tapped.
Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar published an article last week at The Economist about India’s growing global role, which reviews this subject in light of the past year’s events. It didn’t receive the attention from other media that it deserved, however, which is why this piece will raise wider awareness about its contents. India’s top diplomat opened up his article by reminding everyone of the Voice Of Global South (VOGS) Summit and his country’s G20 chairmanship.
The first solidified its position as the informal leader of the developing world while the second reinforced its global rise as a player whose interests must be considered by all. In fact, the VOGS Summit saw India brainstorming ways in which it could best champion their shared causes at the G20, which it successfully did as proven by the joint statement that followed their leaders’ meeting in September. Of relevance to the aforesaid policies was India getting the group to admit the African Union as a permanent member.
Moving along, EAM Jaishankar then talked a bit about India’s “neighbourhood first” approach, which aligns with the global trend of regionalization. This concept was then enlarged through the “extended neighourhood” approach that saw India position itself as the crossroads between diverse regions like Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Asia, all with the intent of advancing its grand strategic diplomatic and economic goals. These are bridging partisan divides across the world and reforming globalization.
As India’s top diplomat phrased it, “We support a re-globalisation that is diversified, democratic, fair and market-based” in parallel with a “nimble and ‘multi–vector’ Indian diplomacy.” These economic and diplomatic policies combine to accelerate India’s rise as a globally significant Great Power, which led to the emergence of another responsible stakeholder in worldwide stability. About that, he reaffirmed his country’s commitment to delegitimizing and countering terrorism as well as improving ties with China.
The last-mentioned aspect also has an economic component apart from its obvious diplomatic and military one regarding the need to “address over-concentration that emerged in the international economy. Participating in resilient and reliable supply chains has consequently become a key Indian goal.” EAM Jaishankar is alluding to India’s efforts to court re-offshoring investment from China by presenting itself as a more politically reliable partner for Western companies than the People’s Republic.
The remainder of his article then talked more about his country’s ecological and digital policies at home with reference to how they help advance shared global goals in these regards. The last paragraph also saw him make the important point that “The deepening of Indian democracy has also nurtured authentic and grounded politics. While valuing culture and heritage, the embrace of technology and modernity are equally visible in the progress of the last decade…This is an India that is more Bharat.”
Overall, EAM Jaishankar’s piece concisely argued why everyone should recognize India as a globally significant Great Power, especially after its impressive economic and diplomatic achievements over the past year. 2023 will be seen in hindsight as the year in which this country grew out of its prior role as a regional player and became a truly global one whose potential is far from being fully tapped. Give this year’s successes, it’s exciting to see what the next one will bring.