The recent Voice of the Global South Summit in New Delhi attracted 125 developing countries, and some tangible outcomes for India to carry to its G20 presidency agenda. It showed India's equity to be intact, despite a perception that in the past decade, India has moved away from NAM and closer to the developed West.
Egypt’s President El-Sisi will be the chief guest for India’s Republic Day parade on Jan 26 this year. There are compelling reasons for coming closer together, historical and current, geopolitical and regional. West Asia is India’s backyard with vital security, energy and economic interests at stake, and here Egypt has a privileged position that India can leverage.
India is currently hosting the Voice of Global South Summit, in which over 120 countries will participate. This is the time, as G20 chair, for India to articulate the concerns of the Global South. To truly represent the South, India must understand the moods and changes in Africa, especially in its external partnerships
Tilak Devasher's book The Pashtuns: A Contested History delves into the Pashtun tribe, highlighting its geopolitical significance and far-reaching consequences in the South Asian region. Reviewer Tim Willasey-Wilsey says the book brilliantly explains how the Pashtuns were strong-armed into joining Pakistan and why the prospect of Pashtun unity poses a threat to security in Pakistan and the entire region.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's essay on Zeitenwende emphasises a strong Germany as a guarantor of European security. It has attracted global attention - but has virtually no mention of India. In parallel, however, the visit of Foreign Minister Annalenna Baerbock reinforced Germany's interest in India, and suggested an upgrade to the bilateral. It is necessary, if India is to seek expanded economic ties with Berlin.
India is geopolitically committed to a ‘free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous’ Indo-Pacific. But unless these five adjectives are viewed and acted on with seriousness, via the country’s North East both developmentally and culturally, the country will be unable to take advantage of its regional proximity to the Indo-Pacific.
India has not invested much in multilateral rule-making institutions like the G20, but it is never too late to start. India is ahead in some aspects, particularly technology with digital public goods and its governance. But it will certainly need help and expertise.
Nearly two years after the military coup in Myanmar, tensions remain, with no domestic or international solution in sight. Despite these setbacks, the Myanmarese people's commitment to democracy has not faltered. As they did a decade ago, the Myanmar elite and leadership of both camps must once again use resilience and pragmatism to craft a way out of the current crisis.
The reference to India by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Valdai Discussion Club may be interpreted as encouragement to New Delhi to use its good offices to nudge the warring sides to the negotiating table. Mediation is a big power game, and this may be the right time for India, at the cusp of the G20 Presidency, to start with a record of success
Tilak Devasher’s book on the Pashtuns brings out the dynamics of the Pashtun, their code, their relationship with Islam and with Pakistan. It contextualizes the current geo-political challenges in South Asia, making it required reading for those who want to understand not only the Pashtuns but regional strategic and security dynamics.