G-20: India & The Western Bloc
The Western World wants to see India play a more active role in 2023, to stop Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine. Being the President of the G-20, India would have to participate in diplomatic programmes with various countries of the group on a regular basis this year. As a result, pressure is mounting on the South Asian nation to find ways in order to defuse tensions by influencing the Kremlin ahead of the G-20 Summit, to be held in September 2023.
In such a situation, Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has recently been seen expressing serious concern about the Russia-Ukraine War, during his visit to Austria. At the same time, he also sent a strong message to the West after the latter put India under tremendous diplomatic pressure over the Ukraine crisis. The Indian Minister, once again, reminded that since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine War, New Delhi has been asking the two former Soviet Republics to seek a solution through peaceful negotiations and diplomacy, instead of violence. No one can deny Dr Jaishankar’s claim that India has undoubtedly played the role of a moderator since the beginning of the war on February 24, 2022.
The West, in a way, wants to ensure that India would ignore its long-standing alliance with Russia in the current situation, and join hands with the Western bloc. It may be noted India’s relations with the West, especially with the US, have improved significantly in the past two decades. During this period, the US has strengthened ties with India in various fields, such as nuclear deal, naval exercises, bilateral trade, et al., albeit to serve its own interests. In a post-9/11 world, India emerged as an important partner of the US to counter the growing influence of Russia and China in the Indo-Pacific Region.
Meanwhile, the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 changed the Global Geopolitical landscape. The US and EU made several attempts to corner Russia diplomatically, as well as economically, in various international forums, including the UN, in order to stop the war. Although India did not take any diplomatic action against Russia, New Delhi advised Moscow to resolve the issues with Kiev through peaceful negotiations. The Narendra Modi Administration has not changed its Russia Policy even in the face of pressure from the West. Instead, India keeps importing fuel from Russia at a subsidised rate, ignoring the economic sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West.
The role of a mediator has certain limitations, and India is no exception to this. During his recent visit to Vienna, Dr Jaishankar hinted that the onus of ensuring peace was not on India alone, especially with countries, like Russia. According to the Indian Minister, other countries would also have to think whether to solve the Ukraine crisis through armed combat, or dialogue and diplomacy. It may be noted that a much weaker India had played the role of a pacifist at the world stage in the 1950s. India, as the President of G-20, has got another opportunity to play a similar role in the 21st Century.
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