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Monday, May 27, 2024

India accuses ‘dominant powers’ of ‘weaponizing’ global influence

Speaking in New York, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar called out the “double standards” of certain nations

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has criticized the “geopolitical divide” in the current world order. During a visit to New York for the UN General Assembly, the diplomat claimed that countries occupying “positions of influence” are guilty of double standards, and are resisting calls from developing nations to reform global institutions.

“Those who are occupying positions of influence, we see this in the UN Security Council most of all, are resisting the pressure to change. Those who are economically dominant today are leveraging their production capabilities and those who have institutional influence or historical influence have actually weaponized a lot of those capabilities as well,” the minister said.

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“They will all mouth the right things, but the reality is still today, it’s a world very much of double standards,” Jaishankar added, arguing that the Covid-19 pandemic was a prime example.

“In the name of the market a lot of things are done, like in the name of freedom a lot of things are done,” the minister remarked. Jaishankar outlined the changes that the Global South would like to see, including increased respect for their heritage, tradition, music, literature, and way of life.

The Indian diplomat made the remarks at the weekend at a ministerial session titled ‘UN for Global South: Delivering for Development’. The event was hosted by prominent Indian think tank the Observer Research Foundation, in collaboration with New Delhi’s Permanent Mission to the UN and the Reliance Foundation.

Issues such as debt, progressing on sustainable development goals (SDGs), climate action, digital access, nutrition, and gender inequality are the main problems “troubling the world,” Jaishankar added. However, partly because of Covid-19 and the focus on Ukraine, “these subjects were driven out of the global conversations,” he argued.

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The foreign minister stated that India’s G20 presidency, which culminated in the leaders’ summit in New Delhi earlier this month, had been “challenging” as it came amid “a very sharp” East-West polarization and a deep North-South divide.

India expects the Global South to put “more and more pressure on the international system” amid an ongoing “transition,” Jaishankar stated. Underlining the need for “cultural balancing,” he explained that this means “recognizing the diversity of the world, respecting the diversity of the world, and giving other cultures and other traditions their due respect.” According to Jaishankar, the Global North was not merely a geographical term, but includes countries that are “very resistant to change.”

Jaishankar’s visit to New York comes against the backdrop of India’s diplomatic row with Canada. Ottawa claims that “agents of the Indian government” could be linked to the killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada in June. Nijjar, 45, had been accused of terrorist activities by India but had lived freely in Canada.

Jaishankar is scheduled to address a high-level session of the 78th UNGA on September 26, according to an official statement by the Indian Foreign Ministry.