The Indian G20 Presidency ends. Delhi can relax following a successful leaders’ conference over the weekend.
Indian foreign policy aims and partnerships with important actors were shown in summits, declarations, and sideline bilateral and plurilateral conversations. The declaration will also affect bilateral relations with the US, Russia, and China, India’s aim to represent the Global South, and multilateralism’s revival at a difficult time.
In The India Way, foreign affairs minister S Jaishankar says, “This is a time for us to engage America, manage China, cultivate Europe, reassure Russia, bring Japan into play, draw neighbours in, extend the neighbourhood, and expand traditional constituencies of support. India achieved all its goals.
Compared to Narendra Modi’s June state visit to the US, President Joe Biden’s India visit built trust. The two trips started well, setting the stage for a large score and a good middle-order hit to extend the inning. Global, regional, and bilateral collaboration revealed this.
Washington owes India. Delhi statement flexibility Biden, the most loyal Democratic president to India, removed a specific reference to Russia’s aggression from UN resolutions and adopted a broader language. The EU followed after the arrogant US saved Ukraine from Russian attack. America’s flexibility helped India mobilise the global south and pressure Moscow. Delhi-DC cooperation on multilateral development banks (MDBs), DC’s embrace of India’s digital public infrastructure (DPI) as a global paradigm, and the Global Biofuels Alliance partnership illustrate how India and the US aspire to construct the world beyond Ukraine.
The India-Middle East-Europe corridor announcement matters regionally. The process takes decades. But rarely have so many actors from four regions—North America, Europe, West Asia, and South Asia—collaborated on a project of this scale for the common good. India can benefit from this alternative to Chinese infrastructure financing’s exploitation and massive commercial prospects.
Biden and Modi reviewed their June agreements’ swift execution and made fresh announcements. The GE jet engine and MQ-9B transactions are going well. Important emerging technology (iCET) has increased space, semiconductor, military, education, quantum, biotech, and telecom collaboration. India and the US settle all WTO trade disputes. Real climate finance collaborations are emerging.
Complete it. The conference brings Delhi and Washington together. Friendship grows. Public and private collaboration Discussing themes beyond bilateral collaboration.
The weekend also showed how complex the India-Russia relationship is, requiring public and private, short-term and medium-term, past and future perspectives.
The meeting proved Short-term Delhi-Moscow friendships are strong. After Moscow captured another nation, no nation could save Russia’s prestige.
To please Putin, India deleted the reference to Russian aggression. It used the space to criticise Moscow’s actions, from threatening to use nuclear weapons to halting the Black Sea Grain Deal, from attacking civilians and infrastructure to destabilising the global economy, from violating another state’s territorial integrity and sovereignty to
The accommodation-criticism mix isn’t a story. Sergei Lavrov’s praise for the Indian presidency on Sunday indicated Moscow liked Delhi. Despite moving west, India has guaranteed Russia its partnership and autonomy.
Indian leaders privately realise the strategic partnership’s future is grim and that Delhi must diversify its allies and dependents for national security. India understands Moscow attacked Kyiv wrongly, whether it says so or not. Know that Moscow’s broad national power is weaker than before February 2022. India realises Moscow’s dependence on Beijing has skewed its view of China, its biggest security threat. The Indian military struggles to meet its needs due to the diluted Russian military-industrial base. It recognises the need for European integration.
Moscow knows India is aware and acting. Short-term and medium-term actions must be distinguished. The weekend showed India’s versatility.
Over the G20 weekend, India struggled to manage its China relationship and its lifespan. three ways this happened.
Chinese President Xi Jinping missed his first G20 meeting since taking office. A Modi-Xi handshake or bilateral meeting could have drawn opposition criticism and portrayed India as weak given the border situation; therefore, this was likely a favourable thing for the Indian political leadership. Another strategic signal was that China’s top leadership wanted to avoid supporting or hindering India’s global achievements before the summit. Border conditions may worsen and not improve.
Text chat was second for China. While supporting Russia on Ukraine, it also supported other ministerial results. It increased its obstructionism on other issues in recent weeks to alarm India. Delhi knew Beijing had to resist a common text, join, or risk being a spoiler. Delhi diplomatically rallied the global south and convinced Moscow. Beijing quit. Third, non-Chinese geopolitical activities damaged the Delhi-Beijing bilateral axis. Indian authorities worry China will regard their proximity to the West as aggressive. Beijing’s assertiveness solved that for Delhi. India now knows it will act in its own interest with the US, whatever Beijing’s opinion. This idea comprises US-West Asian infrastructure corridors and the Quad, for which Biden may visit India again in January.
Overall, the experience shows India-China relations will remain unclear. India needs time to improve due to power disparities. China had to collaborate on international concerns. Therefore, it controlled China without expecting to fix structural connection issues.