India’s Leadership during Global Crisis and the Modi Paradigm

Viewpoint by Manish Uprety F.R.A.S. and Jainendra Karn

Manish Uprety F.R.A.S. is an ex-diplomat & ALCAP’s Special Adviser for Asia & Africa and Jainendra Karn is a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of IDN-InDepth News.

NEW DELHI (IDN) — That India exported 1.8 Million Tonnes of wheat to help several countries since the government introduced a ban on its export must have come as a great relief to the international community currently reeling under the effects of the conflict in Ukraine.

Besides taking care of the needs of over a billion people locally, India among others has already sent about 33,000 Tonnes of wheat as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan against the commitment of 50,000 Tonnes, while Egypt bought 180,000 Tonnes of Indian wheat.

Interestingly in Stuttgart last month, it was the German Food and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir who was the leading voice blaming India for the worsening food crisis despite India not being in the list of the leading wheat exporters of the world.

And June 2022 confounded the world when 55,000 Tonnes of Indian wheat was rejected by Turkey on baseless allegations that later found its way to Israel.

International politics can be very devious especially in the times of global conflicts. While Turkey supplying its drones to Ukraine and seeking a Wheat Corridor from Russia can be purely coincidental much like the German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir being part of the Turkish Diaspora.

Outside forces working in tandem with the local and affecting the policies of a country is not uncommon in international politics. The US is an example where President Biden banned the import of Russian gold while mulling lifting sanctions on China thereby reversing the policies initiated by President Trump, the architect of Abraham accords.

Many would attribute past business dealings of President Biden with the Chinese for his decisions but the scams elsewhere such as in the United Nations attest to the fact that the tendency is far more widespread.

Though one might not like but one has to acknowledge that greed is  amongst the leading motivating factors that guide the course of action undertaken by many individuals or organizations, and towards the synergy of purpose.

The world witnessed something similar in the issue of COVID-19 Vaccine patent waivers, an idea originally proposed by India and South Africa, last year where Germany was the leading voice against the move that was even supported by the US.

But as there was always a great merit in the argument that a patent waiver on COVID vaccines is right and fair, the WTO agreed for the same after a very long delay that many experts believe is too late courtesy Germany.

India’s stance in the above two cases and its specific interventions to address the global challenges in a holistic and realistic manner are an example of a pattern that can be termed as “Modi Paradigm.”

Vinay Kwatra, the Foreign Secretary of India perhaps sums up the Modi Paradigm: India looked upon as Solution Provider by All. The recently concluded G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau, Germany was another platform that witnessed the said paradigm.

To fulfil local and international commitments and obligations successfully in a responsible manner is not only the key but also a great challenge.

Prime Minister Modi reiterated the commitment made by India at the UN COP26 that India will cut its emissions to net zero by 2070 while pitching India’s emerging clean energy market at the G7 Summit.

It must be underlined that an important part of the Modi Paradigm is to learn both from the past experiences and contemporary developments in order to develop robust response and effective approaches for greater good.

An inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines that adversely affected the developing countries was a cautionary precedent for not walking a similar path in global food grain shortage as India made it aptly clear at the US-led Food Security Ministerial meeting at UN headquarters in New York.

As food and energy are inherently linked in the case of India, its pursuit of energy and fertilizer security is fraught with challenges when leading oil producers like Saudi Arabia and UAE have reached their maximum output capacity that can only be marginally increased, and there are sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, other major oil producing nations.

Hence procurement of oil and fertilizer from Russia which is being offered at a discounted rate is not only what the Finance Minister N. Sitharaman says is best for the Indian economy but is also a mechanism to meet the basic needs of peoples both locally and in other developing countries that together have over 85%  of the world’s population who lack the exorbitant purchasing power of the West.

She also pointed out to the fact that Western European countries continue to purchase oil, natural gas and fertilizer from Russia while pressurizing India to limit its interaction with Russia which has been a trusted partner of India and also has a special relationship.

One can now realise and empathise with the sagacity with which the Modi Government dealt with the crisis in Ukraine, and which has been a boon to the nation especially to keep the inflation low and price of the fuel affordable when compared to other leading countries.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine will make the situation even worse. IMF observes that it will cause a serious setback to Europe’s economic recovery and there is a fair chance that war in Europe will escalate as noted by Nigel Farage who single handedly led BREXIT.

One key argument which is being put forward is that Britain and Russia though enemies in Ukraine want to disrupt Europe together even though Kremlin maintains that Ukraine could end the war in a day if it surrenders.

The implications of it will be serious. An interesting question which is being posed now is whether the Ukraine Conflict is the Last Crisis to Break the UN Camel’s Back.

If that be the case, multilateralism will witness an organic decay at the global level, and hence there is an imperative need to address the systemic rot and overhaul the system before it’s too late.

The US Foreign Policy Tsar Henry Kissinger calls on Ukraine to accept the territorial losses of 2014 to end the war and George Soros of Open Society Foundation seeks victory in the war against Vladimir Putin’s Russia by providing Ukraine with everything it needs to prevail.

Will they heed India’s call that has always maintained that the path of dialogue and diplomacy is the only viable path that can solve the Ukraine conflict and bring lasting peace?

It seems very doubtful as things stand today where the US and Russia would continue the conflict till the last Ukrainian stand on the ground.

Prof. John J. Mearsheimer has elaborated upon the causes and consequences of the Ukraine conflict in detail, and there are fair grounds to assume now that the situation in Ukraine could have been avoided if the West had exhibited a little strategic empathy towards Russia.

But Narcissism to a degree of fault has been an innate trait of the West for long that has affected its worldview drastically and has made it extremely myopic and selfish devoid of any real empathy for others.

Speaking at the Globesec 22 Bratislava Forum in Slovakia, India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar had asked the European nations to come out of the mindset that European problems are world’s problems and the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems.

However, to bring about a change of mindset is perhaps easier said than done especially for tiny countries that have an ego much larger than the size of Mt. Everest. It is a Herculean task which is near impossible.

When a country like Belgium which was described as a non-country by the leading British politician Nigel Farage can refuse to formally acknowledge and apologise for its shameful colonial past or Britain refuses to extend a formal apology to India for Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and to discuss a $45 Trillion reparation, any hope for a positive change is a waste of time.

Also there can’t be a full reconciliation when a mischievous narrative like Britain does not owe India reparation is being developed and circulated. It will have serious implications not only for India but also for other countries that have been a victim of colonization.

Facts cannot be compromised. While Adolf Hitler killed 6 million Jewish people in a ten year period, Winston Churchill killed 7 million Indians in eight months by creating an artificial famine in 1943-44.

Any whitewashing of facts will only contribute towards injustice and arbitrariness and would hamper the pursuit of a just and peaceful world by the international community.

So in a world afflicted by historical injustices, battle of narratives, and a tendency of apathy and to maintain relevance and status quo by the international institutions, the unraveling of Modi Paradigm that guides India’s policy decisions and leadership, and its impact on the world, will be an interesting one.

It is a paradigm that seeks translation of ideas into actions for greater good. It is also about the hope and possibilities that a country like India that is rapidly undergoing transformation generates and offers to the world.

India recorded over $82 billion Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) deal making defying global slump in the second quarter of 2022, the highest amount on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In a way, it is about exploring and harnessing opportunities through cooperation and partnership for a common goal.

The journey of Prime Minister Modi’s life from a humble tea seller to the most popular global leader who motivates other global leaders through his leadership style is an example of the pattern which manifested as Modi Doctrine.

No wonder the international community sees a great hope in the leadership of India in the arena of global affairs and United Nations member states including P-5 countries like the US, France, Britain, China and Russia back India’s bid for permanent membership in reformed UN Security Council. [IDN-InDepthNews – 30 June 2022]

Photo: Prime Minister Modi (left) shaking hands with US President Biden as Canadian PM Trudeau looks on. Credit: The authors of this article.

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