After a year affected by a sustained polycrisis, global geopolitics in 2024 remains a delicate dance between hope and realism. Ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza cast uncertain shadows, while Taiwan and the South China Sea present potential flashpoints. Indian diplomacy will have to navigate old and new challenges, while promoting India’s expertise in digital technology, as also managing its own upcoming parliamentary elections.
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India’s G20 presidency was effective in insulating the forum from geopolitical turbulence and placing the spotlight on the Global South. Although the G20 stands strengthened today due to India’s creative and forward-looking presidency, member nations confronting inter-state contestations, domestic elections and concurrent economic crises in the coming year will have to muster the political will to ensure a sustained commitment to the grouping's promises.
On December 1, 2023, India will hand over the G20 Presidency to Brazil. The G20 troika will now comprise the three IBSA countries – India, Brazil, South Africa – till November 2025. This trio has an agenda in common and with the G20, such as multilateral reform, energy transitions and digitalisation. IBSA should use its mechanisms and natural solidarity to advance the interests of the Global South.
On November 17, India hosted the Voice of the Global South Summit – the second such meeting this year. While the first summit helped India mould the agenda for its G20 presidency, this latest meeting, convened towards the end of the presidency, was aimed at sustaining the momentum, with the support of developing countries, for the implementation of G20 decisions.
The outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war less than a month after the conclusion of the New Delhi Summit has heightened the geopolitical anxieties that hovered over India’s G20 presidency year. As the baton passes to Brazil, purposeful action, careful diplomacy and managing conflicting interests will be key to the implementation of the Summit’s commitments.
Europe's increased focus on the Indo-Pacific and the deepening economic and technological collaboration with India offer mutual benefits. However, the EU's ambivalent approach towards China, and the desire of most European states to maintain neutrality in the U.S.-China rivalry might not be sustainable in the long run.
Indian companies are internationalising, and so should Indian education. The National Education Policy of 2020 recommends a series of policy initiatives and reforms in higher education institutes to attract foreign students to India. But making India an attractive destination for foreign students hinges on offering them the opportunity to work in the country too. Our new report shows how an expanded provision of work visas for foreign students is a progressive and natural extension of the NEP, enabling Indian campuses to internationalise, make India a global education hub and strengthen its international academic and corporate networks.
At the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on October 26, Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar stressed the importance of maintaining regional stability and enhancing economic cooperation in Central Asia. Achieving its economic and strategic objectives in the SCO will become a challenge for Indian diplomacy next year, when Pakistan takes on the chairmanship of the grouping.
Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) in India has encouraged innovation, resulting in accelerated economic growth and efficient delivery of government services, all whilst maintaining digital sovereignty. Further success depends on developing international standardisation and interoperability. As a DPI pioneer, India can use its position to create a repository of best practices and encourage collaboration for global digital governance standards.
Between 2023 and 2024, a sweep of democracies across the world are scheduled to hold general elections. India has an interest in several of these: its own national election and those in its immediate neighbourhood; in the G20, of which India is still part of the troika; and in BRICS-plus, where a new global game is afoot.