Logbook of an Ambassador
India’s place and positioning in the world
India has overtaken China as the country with the world’s largest population and appears to derive from it a higher political relevance in world affairs. But how solid are the underlying trends needed for more global influence? According to The Economist Intelligence Forecast, India’s GDP growth rate outnumbers by far that of all other relevant global economic powers. On this basis, India is set to become the market of the future.
India’s global strategic goals after the BRICS summit and before the G-20 summit
Last week’s international headline announced that BRICS, at its summit in Johannesburg, has invited six countries to join the group. BRICS’ members, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, formerly known as “emerging economies”, had, since their inception, been aspiring at more political weight by closing up to the globally dominant G-7 and by trying to become the Global South’s voice in world affairs.
India’s “Western” future
India’s most conspicuous political move of late is certainly its refusal to join the West’s condemnation of Russia’s war against the Ukraine and to comply with its sanctions against the aggressor. India has even, together with China, become Russia’s main buyer of oil and is, thus, indirectly funding Putin’s war. India may not be known for militarily supporting Russia, but remains dependent on Russian armament … and for a long time.
2023, an important year for India’s Government
Throughout 2023, India will play a prominent role in world politics. It will be chairing the G-20, the grouping of the world’s 20 largest economies. The G-20 is not an international organisation, nor a grouping of common values, and even less an alliance, but it is a setting in which the world’s most important economic, financial and development issues, including the most burning political topics of our time, are being dicussed.
Russia’s Ukraine war, India’s contradicting reactions and its ultimate goal
India’s refusal to adhere to Western sanctions against Russia as a consequence of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is in stark contrast to its recent repeated confirmations of unequivocally siding with its QUAD partners US, Japan and Australia against China’s expansion and its joining the newly created quadrilateral forum I2U2, a grouping comprising India, Israel, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Russia’s war against Ukraine and India’s long term interests
India abstained, when the UN Security Council voted a resolution condemning Russia for its unsolicited war of aggression against the Ukraine. For some in the West, this positioning may have come as a surprise and certainly as a disappointment. A deeper look into the historic background, however, reveals some logic for Prime Minister Modi’s position.
India after the debacle in Afghanistan
America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last August had been announced. It was no “black swan”. But when the Taliban took over, and with the speed with which they did it, it seemed to take all involved by surprise. Since then, the world got accustomed to see it as a repetition of Saigon’s fall in 1975. Media pictures looked the same.
India in geopolitics and at home: two worlds
The picture of India’s geostrategic position is moving, these days. Over recent months, China’s geopolitical behaviour and accompanying diplomatic rhetoric have become strikingly more assertive and more threatening for its neighbourhood. But in the logic of cause and effect, international resistance against China is growing, too.
Biden/Harris as PM Modi’s “dream team”?
The US will have a Vice President of Indian descent. Kamala Harris, Biden’s Vice-President elect, born in the USA, is the daughter of an Indian lady from Chennai, South East India, who had immigrated to California for higher studies. Kamala Harris’ father was Jamaican, who had immigrated to the USA, also for higher studies. A double racial and national descent is the background of America’s future Vice President. According to all accounts available, Kamala’s Indian background must be predominant, although she grew up in an African-American community. She may call herself a person of colour, but Indians first of all will see in her the Indian legacy. And Indians may ask themselves what is politically in it for India.
India’s place in the Middle East
The Middle East and Persian Gulf region has, over recent years and months, experienced events and developments that have changed the pattern of alliances and strategic interests to a large extent. Let’s remember that, for a historical moment, an effective alliance against the so-called “Islamic State” (“ISIS”), composed among others of American, Turkish, Iranian, Kurdish, Iraqi and Syrian forces of both the regime and the anti-Assad opposition, had led a relatively successful war against that terrorist organization of Saudi origin.