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Emerging Order


The G7, Quad, G20, SCO, etc., – there are any number of groupings set up to nurture and protect the common interests of nations in the complex networking of the present day world. Whether it is security, trade, control over natural resources or regional access, there are many issues that nations have to balance out of necessity and not necessarily out of inclination. So, India is a member of the Quad, which is directed against China, while being a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Almost all countries are part of such seemingly contradictory relationships.

While asserting sovereign rights, there is growing awareness that the complexities cannot be dealt with through the national perspective alone. The struggle to align strategies on tackling Climate Change is only one example. Organisations established only some decades ago, such as the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, NATO, even SAARC, have failed to keep pace with the changing circumstances and rapidly developing power equations. While the US remains the richest, most powerful nation militarily and in terms of soft power, the world is already being expected to prepare for China and India in the top two positions by 2060. While, hopefully, this will happen in a peaceful and beneficial manner, the systems and relationships will have to transform in ways not easily predicted at the present. Those habituated to thinking and acting on the basis of dominance in the present will find it difficult to make the transformation.

So, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi flies out to bilateral and multilateral meetings across the globe, he has to keep, both, the present reality and future possibilities in mind. All the messaging that came forth at the G7 and Quad meetings is beyond what will have been said in the communiqués. The approach adopted by India in its G20 Presidency also reflects these complexities – of projecting its hard and soft power, as well as interlocking the common interests of the members. Its approach has been appreciated on many forums, as seen in the response of global leaders to Modi’s exhortation that ‘now is not the time for war’. There are greater goals to achieve and, be it at the international level, or the national one, the people will have to rise to the occasion by backing the right processes and providing energy to the effort. Politics should not get in the way of the larger good.