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G7: A long drawn test for India’s diplomatic skills (Special)

Published: 25th May, 2023

Context

PM Modi embarks on a week-long journey to Japan, Papua New Guinea and Australia. Alongside, all four Quad leaders will meet on the sidelines of the G-7. Almost immediately after his return, Mr. Modi will be hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.

The world of the SCO

  • Composition of the SCO: It includes those being inducted as observers such as Myanmar, gives the impression of it being a largely anti-western grouping. It has practically every country sanctioned by the West as a part of it.
  • Lessons from earlier meetings: Lesson can be learnt from the SCO foreign ministers meeting held in Goa, where India Pakistan bilateral relations overshadowed the multilateral outcomes.
  • Diplomatic challenge: In September, India is going to host every global leader at the G20 summit, where its diplomatic skills will be tasted because not since 2010 have leaders of all permanent members of the UN Security Council visited Delhi in the same year.

Striking a balance

  • Multi directional engagement: India is moving away from its traditional Non-alignment policy. and has preffered her own version of Multi-dimensional engagement.
  • Joining contrasting groupings: In 2017, India took part in reviving the Quad in the face of overt belligerence from Beijing, India also joined the SCO as a full member, agreeing to host the summit this year.
  • Balancing force: Indian attempts of balancing force are playing out much more visibly and other countries are also following it. France’s latest reiteration of “Strategic Autonomy” after French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Beijing indicates same thing.

Disturbing the Balance

  • Black swan event: There are a few unlikely “black swan” events that could jolt India off its careful tightrope walk. For example, aggression by China across any part of the LAC would be another such event requiring a strategic overhaul.
  • Challenge: India’s tasks ahead will be made more difficult if New Delhi fails to ensure at the SCO summit in July or during the BRICS summit in August, that Moscow and Beijing accede to a consensus on a joint communique at the G-20 summit in September. 
  • Global consensus: India is tasked with forging a consensus in the divided world. The failure to issue a joint statement in the upcoming G20 summit would be an ignoble distinction. Next 100 days will decide whether India can retain its reputation in forging a fair balance across the global divide

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