The UN turned 75 this year but instead of grand celebrations, the world witnessed an empty UNGA with world leaders addressing it via video screening because of the pandemic. The UN is under unprecedented stress and being shown up for its inability to tackle the challenges of today like the pandemics, climate change, terrorism or global peace and security. The institution's key governing structures, especially the UN Security Council, are inadequate and demand reform. India must now use gritty resolve to ensure its place in these governing structures.
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The G20's agenda has expanded over the past decade to include Africa. India should use the opportunity of its upcoming presidency of the G20 in 2022 to further cement its relationship with Africa and pursue a multilateral agenda from within the G20 for a more equal partnership with Africa.
India and Mexico will both be non-permanent members at the UNSC for 2021-22. Although located on different sides of the globe, culturally, the two countries share more in common than expected. As fellow non-permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as pro-active members of G20, the two countries need to intensify their mutual dialogue and cooperation on how to overcome the current weakening and impasse in the multilateral system.
In the past five months, India has seen great change: ambitious economic reforms, billions in U.S. digital investments and a determined military and digital push back against China. India is now using the strategic and market weight of its 1.3 billion population and openly taking geopolitical sides to achieve its desired positioning, namely, to be a reliable partner in a more equitable global supply chain of virtual, physical and geopolitical elements.
The recent 15th India-European Union (EU) summit held virtually in July 2020 reflects a bilateral that is gearing for a boost, with both sides trying to move closer in a variety of ways. A serious effort will be required to properly reconcile strategic, trade and investment interests.
The COVID crisis compelled a change in the Business20 (B20) focus areas to reviving health, health facilities and business activity in 2020. India must start work now to give the B20 even greater responsiveness and relevance as the prospective G20 chair in 2022.
Germany has taken over from China as the new president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Will it be the one to put Pakistan on the black list – or will realpolitik and national agendas prevail, with terrorism financing continuing to flourish?
The jubilation displayed by many ASEAN countries on account of the Vietnam’s statement as chair of the 36th ASEAN Summit, referencing events in the South China Sea is belied by a sense of realism and caution. But the fact that more nations are speaking up is a good sign.
China’s escalating actions in the wake of the COVID-19 catastrophe is a calculated strategic diversion and risk. In the Indo-Pacific, tensions between China and the U.S., Australia, India and others are building momentum. As a geopolitical partnership, the relevance of the Quad is now proven. There are clear ways to empower it immediately, and make it a resilient grouping.
In July 2020, Germany takes over as President of the European Union. It’s a fraught time to lead the union which has been slow to react to COVID-19 and needs a new direction. With the pandemic, the U.S.- China stand-off, and a global economic crisis – Chancellor, Angela Merkel has her work cut out.