Germany Wants India To Join Anti-Russian Camp
Anti-Russia positions and Climate Change were the two main messages delivered to India by visiting German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock during her recent visit to New Delhi – an errant mission, because India again made clear that it would not do what Baerbock thought the South Asian nation should do.
Answering questions put to her by the Indian daily The Hindu ahead of her arrival in New Delhi, Baerbock said among other things: “For the past nine months, Russia has been waging not only a brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, but against our international peace order. And now, it is using the coming winter as a weapon, targeting civilian infrastructure. This war is not a European or Western affair. This war affects us all. It sets a dangerous precedent to all those who aim at altering borders by brute force. Therefore, I believe it is crucial to condemn this breach of the UN Charter.” Baerbock also claimed that “time and again, we have seen how the veto power is being abused, as Russia did on multiple occasions this year. The UN Security Council (UNSC) must reflect the realities of our world in the 21st Century”.
Addressing India’s Chairmanship of the G20 since December 1, Baerbock emphasised a focus on Climate Protection. Last week, she said that Indo-German projects worth EUR 1 billion had been agreed upon for 2023. These should help India switch to socially and ecologically sustainable energy sources for its large energy needs. India, however, already has its own National Strategy on climate issues, which is oriented toward the Indian interests. On that, India needs no advice from anybody.
The German media have stressed that Baerbock’s visit to New Delhi is intended to form a stronger counterweight to China. India has not only taken over the Chairmanship of the G20 round of leading industrialised and emerging countries, but also global responsibility, stated Foreign Minister Baerbock when she met Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in New Delhi. Unlike China, Germany already has a long “partnership of values” with India, she insisted.
India has its own policies, Dr Jaishankar informs Baerbock
If Foreign Minister Baerbrock thought that she could bamboozle India into following NATO’s dictates, she learned otherwise. In their joint press conference after meetings, the two ministers were polite, but External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishanker made clear what he had told Baerbock by taking none of the badgering attempted by German and other Western reporters.
When asked by a German reporter about India’s increasing purchase of Russian oil, Dr Jaishankar once again pointed out who’s preaching to whom, stressing: “The European Union (EU), between February 24 and November 17 (2022), imported more fossil fuel from Russia than the next 10 countries combined. If I have to give you an India comparison, the oil import in the EU is like six times what India imported…. Gas is infinity times (greater) because we do not import it, whereas the EU has imported EUR 50 billion worth. Even coal imports from Russia by the EU… is 50% more than India’s import.”
The Indian minister recommended that the press check the website, Russiafossilfueltracker.com, stating: “It would give you country-by-country data of who is really importing what, and I suspect that might be very very helpful.” He added: “And bear in mind today, Europe is buying a lot from the Middle East (or West Asia). The Middle East was traditionally a supplier for economy, like India. So, it puts pressure on prices in the Middle East, as well. So, we have been very, very understanding of European choices and European policies. But…”
Asked snidely if India supported the Kremlin’s condition that Ukraine must recognise the Donbass territories as a part of Russia, Dr Jaishankar replied that it was up to Ukraine and Russia to decide for themselves. “It’s not for India to specify or to advocate or to a condition. That is not our intention, that has not been our approach, it is something which the parties involved will have to decide,” insisted the Indian minister.
As for the provocative question about the reported “list of demands” that Russia had presented to India during trade talks, Dr Jaishanker offered the correction that Russia and India have been discussing how to increase bilateral trade for many years, long before last February, and as part of that process, India, too, had presented a list of products which it wished to export to Russia, and the outcome of expanded trade in both directions would largely be determined by the market.
India is “making the world more India-ready & World-ready”
The G20, bringing together members of the G7 and Five Eyes, is currently wedded to a Global NATO perspective, with Developing Nations and their Chinese and Russian allies turning towards a new system. It is not an ideal forum for changing humanity. However, India is viewing its G20 Presidency as a forum in which to step forward as a Global Power to help shift the world away from the catastrophe in which many countries still find themselves.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently wrote that India’s “G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not just our G20 partners, but also our fellow-travellers in the global South, whose voice often goes unheard”. It also has invited nine guests to participate – the UAE, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Egypt, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Spain – making it sort of a G20+. The first of the series of as many as 200 planned meetings leading into the September 2023 G20 Summit in New Delhi, started on December 5 (2022), with representatives of 40 (!) nations attending the four-day discussion of priorities and the agenda. The Modi Government is talking about holding those meetings in some 50 Indian cities so that the other countries meet India, and Indians meet the world.
The impact of this process on domestic Indian Politics could also become interesting. External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar spoke to university students about the G20 process on December 5. PM Modi, too, held two meetings on the same day with Indian political leaders: first a meeting with all-Party leaders, and separately, his opening address to the two-day conference of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to discuss electoral strategy for the 2024 General Elections. In both, his message was that the G20 process was an opportunity to showcase India’s strengths to the entire world, open to everyone.
“Housing one-sixth of humanity, and with its immense diversity of languages, religions, customs and beliefs, India is a microcosm of the world,” the Indian PM wrote in his article on the G20 perspective. Such a perspective, if carried through, could prove a flank on the Hindu chauvinist current in the BJP, which the British have both fomented and protested, in their efforts to split Asia by dividing India and China, and to break up both, if possible. PM Modi was reported to have “urged BJP leaders to ensure that India’s Presidency for the G20 Summit be made an inclusive event, as it is an opportunity to showcase the South Asian country’s culture and diversity”.
Boundless Ocean of Politics has received this article from Christopher Lewis of Schiller Institute, Frankfurt, Germany.
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