What should India get out of its G20 presidency, apart, of course, from countless dos all over the country to remind people, with their pomp, posters and streams of visitors from abroad, of India’s global leadership role? In our current interconnected, interdependent world, coordination of national policies and actions is a must, to ensure mutual interaction results in productive coherence for the world at large rather than conflict. This calls for global platforms where leaders of the countries that matter can get together and agree on some things. G20 is the most important and most representative of such platforms.
On 28 April, New Delhi hosted a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries’ defence ministers conclave to discuss regional peace and security, counterterrorism efforts and effective multilateralism. The conclave, chaired by India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh, saw the in-person participation of his counterparts from Russia, China, Iran, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The special defence advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan joined virtually.
Sudanese have suffered a week long violence that was not seen before except in the Darfur some 20 years ago. This time it is the battle of supremacy between the current ruler military chief General Burhan and his rival deputy Gen Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo also notoriously called Hemedti heading the Rapid Support forces (RSF) drawn from the feared Janjaweed militias that held and continue to hold sway over the Darfur region.
China will be an ongoing challenge for the Indian foreign and security policy establishment. Its hegemonistic ambitions are clearly evident from the fact that its territorial ingress and disputes are with more countries than it shares a border with. After the perfidious war of 1962, India became wiser and focussed on creating stronger defences against Chinese designs which have become far more robust during the past few years as greater focus on creating state of the art border infrastructure and quick response mechanisms have been created.
Hackers seem to have acquired a new heft and respect even from the State actors. Hackathons are conducted to crack the codes. Friends spy not only on enemies and adversaries but also on friends, proving that there are no permanent friends or enemies but interests. Any leaks, therefore, cause international embarrassment and can make friendly leaders even more nervous as many understandings and assessments are made and shared even at the highest level in great confidence.
Geo politics is the art of the possible as they say there are no permanent friends or enemies but only interests. But in today’s fast changing global and regional dynamic especially in the volatile West Asia which is still nursing the impact of Arab Spring, economic downturn and pandemic apart from festering hotspots, the US, that had been the arbiter of security in the region, does not seem to inspire the same confidence among the major players in the region.
T K Arun In 1994, when Kim Jong-il succeeded his father Kim Il-sung as the supreme leader of North Korea, ET’s cartoonist E P Unny drew the communist theoretician E M S Namboodiripad trying to hide his totally naked self…