Global South on focus as India’s busy diplomatic season kicks off


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to become voice of Global South as India is going ahead full throttle in the next few months with parallel initiatives to expand its global footprint, reports Ateeth Sharma

In tune with high-profile international gatherings at home during its ongoing G20 presidency, India is going ahead full throttle in the next few months with parallel initiatives to expand its global footprint.

Fresh from his three-nation tour of Japan, Papua New Guinea, and Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a packed schedule ahead as he gives a fresh impetus to India’s bilateral and multilateral efforts to find common ground among members of various groupings and forums in an increasingly polarized political landscape.

Next week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is scheduled to participate in the Meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers in Cape Town that will also shape the agenda for the 15th BRICS Summit to be held in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24 this year.

Hosted by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, the mid-term meeting provides an opportunity for Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Russia, India, and China to reflect on regional and global developments.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping (Photo: PIB)

More significantly, with the theme for South Africa’s BRICS chairship being ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism’, as many as 15 Foreign Ministers from Africa and the Global South have also been invited for a ‘Friends of BRICS’ meeting to be held on June 2.

The August meeting will be the first in-person gathering of BRICS leaders in three years where PM Modi will carry forward his vision of utilising India’s current G20 presidency to give resonance to the voice of the Global South and the importance of South-South Cooperation to collectively shape the global agenda.

The BRICS brings together some 3.2 billion people and, after the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement, is among the largest bloc of countries in terms of population.

During India’s ongoing G20 Presidency, participation from Africa is the highest ever, which includes South Africa (G20 member), Mauritius, Egypt, Nigeria, AU Chair – Comoros, and African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD).

Much before that, under India’s chairmanship, New Delhi will host the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on July 3-4 which is expected to see in-person participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and several other top leaders.

The SCO comprises India, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan, covering most of Eurasia. Iran will soon become the ninth member of the grouping while the process of Belarus’ admission to the organisation has been accelerated.

The extensive interactions between the top leaders will continue as India will host the G20 Leaders’ Summit on September 9-10 during its presidency.

The Group of Twenty (G20) comprises 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States) and European Union.

The G20 members represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

The much-awaited event will see the participation of Heads of Government (HOGs), Heads of States (HOSs), Heads of International Organisations (HOIOs) and representatives of several guest countries.

In between all these multilateral engagements and a jampacked domestic schedule, PM Modi will embark on two key bilateral visits over the next two months.

US President Joe Biden will host the Indian Prime Minister for an Official State Visit to the United States, which will include a state dinner on June 22.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with US President Joe Biden at the White House.

“The upcoming visit will affirm the deep and close partnership between the United States and India and the warm bonds of family and friendship that link Americans and Indians together,” said the White House recently.

Following that, PM Modi will attend this year’s Bastille Day Parade as Guest of Honour on July 14 in Paris at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.

“Prime Minister’s visit is expected to herald the next phase in the France-India Strategic Partnership by setting new and ambitious goals for our strategic, cultural, scientific, academic, economic cooperation, including in a wide range of industries,” stated a joint India-France statement.

The unstoppable Indian juggernaut will roll onto 2024 with full force – a year which will witness PM Modi hosting leaders of the US, Australia, and Japan for the first-ever Quad Leaders’ Summit in India.

(India Narrative)

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