The External Affairs Minister of India, S Jaishankar, has publicly urged for a change in the widespread viewpoint that makes the West a bad actor in the global trade scenario. During an interview with an Asianet News Channel, he attributed the massive influx of goods into the markets of Asia and Africa to a storyline far more complex than the age-old pattern of the West versus developing countries. He thereby called for stepping out of this persisting syndrome.
Addressing Global Trade Imbalances
In the course of his interview, Jaishankar underlined the mounting resentment of countries worldwide about the economic downfall they have suffered due to the invasion of cheap goods into their markets. This has upset their product lines, manufacturing sector, and employment rates significantly. Products being sold at considerably low prices have posed challenges for the domestic industries of many countries. The pain deeply associated with this larger economic structure has intensified over the past two decades.
Global events like the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine have added fuel to this fire, causing the prices of essential commodities like food and energy to spike. In his words, the issues plaguing the world today are complicated, necessitating a more fine approach.
“It is not the West which is flooding Asia and Africa with goods on a massive scale. I think we need to get over the syndrome of the past that the West is the bad guy and on the other side are the developing countries,”
India: A Positive Force in the Global South
However, Jaishankar also brought India’s progress in various sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, and science into the spotlight. Highlighting accomplishments such as the successful Chandrayaan-3 mission and the national vaccination drive, he noted that these achievements have planted a sense of relatability among the countries of the Global South towards India. Evidently, India’s efforts have led to a perception of growth and progress in the international community.
Simultaneously, he brought attention to the G20 summit held under the Indian presidency, which was lauded for its outstanding accomplishments. India’s diplomacy set a distinct direction for the influential group of nations, with a strategic focus on the Global South initiative besides reigniting growth and development. It depicted India as a country of rising confidence and dynamic leadership. Moreover, this approach indicated that setting the global agenda was not the exclusive dominion of Western nations or certain powerful countries.
Global South: A Feeling of Solidarity
Narrating India’s role in bringing together 125 nations at the Global South summit, Jaishankar clarified that the Global South was not a new order. Rather, it symbolized a feeling of unity, a readiness to extend a helping hand. This sentiment of solidarity was recognized by those who were part of it and even by those who weren’t. With the scope of the Global South not defined strictly, India neither claimed to be its leader.
On the economic front, he expressed optimism about the proposed economic corridor that connects India and Europe via the Middle East. Reflecting on job migration, he voiced concerns about the Khalistan group’s influence on India-Canada relations.
As for Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict, Jaishankar confirmed that India had played a role in excluding Russia’s blame in the official G20 declaration. Making clear that the scenario of the Bali Summit where Russia was held accountable could not be replicated in India, he insisted that everyone’s efforts led to an agreeable outcome. He took pride in India’s successful efforts to push for the African Union’s membership at the G20, a step for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi received global appreciation.
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