India’s growing role in the world order

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    It has been observed that India can play a stabilising and a bridging role at a time when the world is not an “optimistic picture”.

    About India’s role in the world order

    • India belongs both to the non-aligned movement, which reflects its experience of colonialism, and the community of democracies, which reflects its 75 years of experience as a democracy 
    • India is a leading light of the global “trade union” of developing countries, the G-77 (Group of 77), which has some 120 countries, and also of the global macro-economic “management”, the G-20 (Group of 20 developed and developing countries whose presidency India has just assumed). 
    • India plays an influential role both in the United Nations, a universal organisation that has 193 member states, and in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). 
    • India has the great ability to be in all these great institutional networks, pursuing different objectives with different partners, and in each finding a valid purpose that suits us. 
      • India has moved beyond non-alignment to what is called multi-alignment.
    • India’s External Affairs Minister meets annually with his Russian and Chinese counterparts in the trilateral RIC; he adds Brazil and South Africa in BRICS; subtracts both Russia and China in IBSA, for South-South cooperation; and retains China but excludes Russia in BASIC, for environmental negotiations. 

    Achievements of India 

    • India has made extraordinary strides in recent years; it is already the world’s third-largest economy in PPP (purchasing power parity) terms and continues to climb.
    • Countries across the world want to be associated with India because there is a belief that India is in touch with key players and that India can influence them.

    Issues and Challenges

    • India is yet able to feed, educate and employ all people.
    • Too many of our people continue to live destitute, amidst despair and disrepair.
    • The old binaries of the Cold War era are no longer relevant. 
      • At the same time, the distinction between domestic and international is less and less meaningful in today’s world.
      • Institutions of global governance have failed to unite the world. 
    • The World Trade Organization (WTO) was already in the intensive care unit before the novel coronavirus pandemic, with rich and poor countries unable to agree on equitable rules, when COVID-19 froze global supply chains. 
    • The war in Ukraine in February 2022 has put the final nail in the coffin of the boundary-less global economy that seemed to be emerging with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
    • Inequalities have increased within countries and amongst them too.
    • We are living in a world in which one defining paradigm for foreign policy is impossible. 

    Suggestions and Way Ahead 

    • India can contribute towards de-risking the global economy and in political terms, in some way, help depolarise the world.
    • Far from evolving into a “world leader”, India should become an active participant in a world that is no longer defined by parameters such as “superpowers” or “great powers” exercising “world leadership”
    • We cannot simply be non-aligned between two superpowers when one of them sits on our borders and nibbles at our territory. 
      • But nor can we afford to sacrifice our strategic autonomy in a quest for self-protection.
      •  We need to define a new role for ourselves that depends on our understanding of the way the world is.
    • In this increasingly networked world, we are going to have to work through multiple networks, which will sometimes overlap with each other with common memberships, and sometimes be distinct. 
      • But they all serve our interests in different ways and for different purposes. 
    • India should present itself as a natural stabilising power in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region,
    • It should aim to create new pillars of the new global order through engagement and partnership with middle powers.

    Mains Practice Question

     [Q] Do you agree that India can play a big role in shaping the emerging global “network” which would define international relations and world politics in the 21st century? give reasons to support your answer