Aspirations to achieve Akhand Bharath may be a long-term objective for the right-wing political establishment in India. However, India’s immediate and most important priority should be to reduce China’s influence in our neighborhood. This will best serve the national interest. For the last seven years or so, China has been strengthening her influence in our neighborhood to the alarm of all. However, India’s ruling elites continue to focus on stage-management, convincing the people that ‘everything’ is alright in the neighborhood. The prevailing truth, however, hurts the real patriots of this great nation.
One of the senior leaders of the BJP, MP and Dr. Subraminian Swamy, says that this government does not have the courage to respond to the challenges of China, even those direct challenges upon our border and within our neighborhood. It is a shame that none of the spokespersons for the BJP or the Government have thus far possessed the ability to respond to Dr. Swamy’s comments. India’s failure in responding to China’s increasing influence has led to our immediate neighbors leaning more on Beijing than New Delhi. These small countries know the benefits of being with India in the long run. Nonetheless, some of the foolish policies pursued by the present government have worsened the situation in our neighborhood. Now, India’s neighborhood policy is no longer bilateral but trilateral. When India initiates any bilateral talks with her neighbors, the Chinese will automatically be included. Thus, considerable Chinese influence runs deep today in our neighborhood. It extends to Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and even to Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
However, when we miserably fail to utilize our strengths and preserve strong relationships with our neighbors, serious questions must be asked about our capacity to deal with China. At the same time, India’s bilateral trade with China reached the value of $100 billion, despite the shadow of dispute over the border of the two countries. It shows that the present government has not learnt any lesson from China’s assertive behavior since 2014.
What did the BJP promise in the 2014 and 2019 election campaigns and what have they delivered so far in reducing China’s influence in our neighborhood? The BJP talked loudly during election campaigns about their foreign policy priorities and strategies. Yet, they kept quiet afterwards. In the past two parliamentary elections Pakistan and China were well described as our enemies and as threats to our national security. Aakar Patel says in his book, “India has no real Pakistan strategy, if, by strategy, we mean a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term aim.” China’s behaviour indicates that it has a clear policy for India. However, India’s response to China does not demonstrate the same. In consequence, our neighbors understand that India is a reluctant power under the leadership of the current Prime Minister. China’s influence over our neighbors, too, is unchecked. Let us examine in this article how the present government has failed to thwart China’s influence with our neighbors since 2014.
At present Sri Lanka is in the midst of a debt crisis. India’s policy should be to use the crisis as an opportunity to influence Sri Lanka against China. Does India have any policy alternative to offer that could rescue Sri Lanka? Many projects in Sri Lanka are reluctantly given to Chinese based companies because of our lack of policy towards Colombo. Sri Lanka has now started to travel on two tracks – that is on India and China. Today, the Chinese influence is well developed in Sri Lanka with the support of the Rajapaksa brothers. India’s recent approach in extending $500-mn credit to support Sri Lanka’s urgent need for fuel importation, gives hope that China will not be allowed to swallow Colombo. The point is that the more we allow Sri Lanka to rely on China’s aid, the closer the Chinese threat becomes.
Since the withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan, the whole world has plunged into expectation about what shall happen next to Afghanistan. As the Taliban forces drew near to the capital city Kabul, India commented that, “We are monitoring the situation with concern”. However, China quickly perceived that the fall of Afghanistan into the hands of the Taliban did not only threaten the security of Central/South Asia, but that it also concerned Beijing. The Taliban could support militants in the Xinjiang province. Hence, China produced a statement announcing their willingness to work with the new government led by the Taliban. In response, the Taliban says, “China is our friend”. Now, does this not indicate that India is not their friend? Although India has invested a huge amount of funds for the development of Afghanistan’s society, in the building of dams to schools, it is now struggling to work with the new government in Kabul. India’s failure to act wisely opened the door to China.
India and Pakistan have been in conflict with each other since their independence. However, Pakistan and China typically say that they are ‘all-weather friends’. Today Pakistan is India’s permanent adversary. The Indian establishment uses this environment to its electoral advantage. Even more than India, the Pakistani military also has to take responsibility for this situation. I am not at all in a position to say that India has to find a channel to talk with Pakistan on the shadow of terror. Nonetheless, the present government in India should understand that Pakistan itself has internal bleeding because of terror. It is a failed state according to the Foreign Policy Magazine. At the same time, the mission for India’s foreign policy department is to form friendships with like-minded groups inside Pakistan, to improve confidence building measures and facilitate future talks. This helps to identify the available options before us and to find opportunities to reduce China’s influence in Pakistan. This is imperative even though we don’t talk with Pakistan. During his famous bus journey to Pakistan our former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said, “Friends can be changed but not neighbors”. It is true that India has lots of challenges in handling Pakistan when compared to China’s relations with Pakistan. However, abandoning Pakistan will completely allow China to dictate Pakistan’s policy towards India.
Once, Nepalwas governed by India’s interest. Even today, the people of Nepal can be seen all over India in employment and enjoying their life. The disagreements between India and Nepal over their new constitution could have been sorted out amicably. India’s national security advisor Ajit Doval’s strategy for Nepal, that it should block essential goods like petroleum as a retaliation measure, created anti-Indian feeling in Nepal which now runs very deep. It is unsurprising, therefore, that India’s imprudent strategy has considerably pushed Katmandu towards Beijing. India should not have done this to an unequal county like Nepal. At present, Nepal is now not only more dependent upon China, but it is also following the strategy of China in handling the India-Nepal border dispute. Further, it also published unilaterally the map containing disputed territories claimed by India. This indicates that India is losing even a tiny country to the geostrategic balance of power with China.
India and Bhutan have enjoyed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation since 1949. Before 2013 Bhutan’s foreign policy was India’s foreign policy. This meant that India’s foreign policy considered Bhutan’s interests. It is well known that Bhutan has a border dispute with China and that the negotiations to settle the border issue have been running for the past four decades. For the last five years, India and Bhutan have continued to be on the same page. However, India’s unworthy efforts in handling the Doklam crisis caused Bhutan to reconsider their position against China in settling the border disputes. As India’s diplomatic responses to China decline, it is entirely sensible for the tiny states to begin working more with China. The recent memorandum of understanding between Bhutan and China demonstrates this emerging pattern. The Indian government has become increasingly distressed that Bhutan is beginning (for the first time) to conduct its external affairs with China without consulting India. Moreover, the fact that the details of the memorandum of understanding have not been shared with India reveals that Indian policy makers under the BJP leadership are completely blind to China’s influence in India’s neighborhood.
China’s special focus and investment in Bangladesh in recent times is also a concern to India. However, for now, India can still retain comfort in holding its position as the largest trading partner of Bangladesh. New Delhi and Dhaka have a clear understanding and also have mutual concerns about the attempts of China towards fulfilling and satisfying Dhaka’s demands. At this stage, China always says that their relationship with Bangladesh is an opportunity for India. However, India has been silent amidst China’s warning to Bangladesh. Beijing has warned Dhaka against participating in the Quad dialogue group, of which New Delhi is a member. This warning concerns our neighbor Bangladesh. These small things gradually increase the doubts of our neighbors about our ability to handle China and safeguard their interests.
India and Myanmar have shared connections for many centuries. Myanmar was one of the provinces of British India. At present India is sharing a 1600km long border with Myanmar. India considers the South East Asian nation to be a gateway towards implementing its Act-East Policy. Military rule, civil war and human rights issues have tarnished the image of Myanmar and isolated it from the international community. India has a number of developmental projects with Myanmar. Nevertheless, this cannot be compared to China’s $21 billion FDI investment in Myanmar in 2020 and its contribution of 80% of Myanmar’s military equipment. However, India’s defense and security cooperation with Myanmar has been increasing. Whilst bilateral relations between China and Myanmar are sailing well, Myanmar has accused China of supplying military equipment to the rebel group near the Myanmar-China border. This pushed Myanmar’s military rulers towards India in 2011, thereby reducing its dependence on China. That is the reason why the Indian government did not talk much about the February 2021 coup in Myanmar against the democratically elected government, except in registering her general concern. The general view is – New Delhi is dancing without long term vision but only striving for short-term goal to fulfil her energy demand for her North Eastern State. Hence, the reality is – in the last eight years or so, India’s present strategy towards further reducing China’s influence in Myanmar has provided no robust results.
To summarize, instead of formulating policies to curb China’s influence in our neighborhood, the Indian government has instead showed cowardice to the weak section of Indian society like internal migrants, children, women, dalits, and minorities. The Covid-19 pandemic provided a splendid opportunity for India to protect our neighborhood against China’s assertiveness. Yet, the Prime Minister’s policies have failed and India is now being forced to face a declining fate. Neither India nor our neighbors have benefited from the Covid-19 opportunities.
Every Indian is asking the Prime Minister – why is he silent in the face of the Chinese threat? In truth, he is afraid of provoking China by strong action. Look at the leadership of Russia. They openly speak against the West and EU as their adversary. Why can the Indian Prime Minister not do likewise? How long will his silence continue?
Once, Sri Lanka’s focus on China was our main concern. Now, others are following suit, such as Nepal, Bhutan and even Maldives in the Indian Ocean. No concrete steps have been taken to deal with China’s influence in our neighborhood. India is facing shame after shame because of the Chinese approach towards our neighbors. One after another, our neighbors are falling into the trap of China. It is a matter of grave concern that the office of India’s Prime Minister’s remains undisturbed.
The Tug-of-War of Regionalism in South Asia
The South Asian area, encompassing countries such as Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives, exhibits a significant degree of variety, accompanied by a multitude of intricate factors. The establishment of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) in 1985 was a sincere endeavor to cultivate regionalism within the subcontinent. Notwithstanding its conceptual merit, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has seen limited success in realizing its goals, principally due to the persistent tensions between its prominent constituents, India and Pakistan. The absence of coherent political intent has adversely affected regionalism in South Asia.
From an economic standpoint, it can be observed that South Asia is now experiencing rapid growth, positioning it as one of the most swiftly developing areas globally. India, characterized by its burgeoning middle class and notable technical progress, assumes a prominent role in the global arena. Nevertheless, smaller economies such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have comparable growth rates. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) implemented by China has developed as a notable economic entity in the area, giving rise to both prospects and concerns. The issue of significant debt obligations linked to Chinese investment has raised apprehension.
The political structures in South Asia exhibit significant variations. India, being the greatest democracy globally, stands in contrast to its neighboring nations, such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which have had instances of military coups and civil turmoil throughout their history. In contrast, Bhutan continues to function as a monarchy, employing a distinctive methodology for pursuing progress, which is evaluated by means of Gross National Happiness as opposed to Gross Domestic Product. The presence of a wide range of political systems presents significant obstacles to the process of regional integration. The growing engagement of China in South Asia has prompted a reconfiguration of geopolitical interests. Nations such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives are progressively turning their attention to China in search of economic opportunities and military collaborations, thereby introducing complexities to the regional dynamics. Moreover, the United States’ strategic shift towards Asia highlights the growing significance of this area within the context of global geopolitics. Given the competing interests of these more influential nations, the smaller nations within the area frequently encounter themselves ensnared in a precarious position.
The South Asian area has a diverse array of religions and ethnicities, contributing to the intricate nature of interregional dynamics. The socio-political ramifications of the Hindu-Muslim split, Buddhist communities, and Sikh populations, among other groups, are noteworthy. The adverse impact of the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka and the religious difference between India and Pakistan on the promotion of regionalism is evident.
Border issues, such as the ongoing Kashmir war between the neighboring nations of India and Pakistan, pose substantial obstacles to the establishment of regional cooperation. Moreover, the matter of terrorism, sometimes endorsed by states or at the very least allowed by certain nations, presents a security concern that complicates the prospect of enhanced collaboration. The subject of climate change is gaining prominence as a matter of great importance that South Asian nations cannot afford to overlook. The geographical area under consideration encompasses many climatic hotspots, notably the Himalayas and the Sundarbans, which are progressively vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as the retreat of glaciers and the escalation of sea levels. The presence of environmental concerns has the potential to intensify pre-existing social and political conflicts. Water shortage has the potential to exacerbate disputes between governments that have shared river systems. As the South Asian area increasingly assimilates into the global digital world, it is imperative for the region to confront and address the challenges pertaining to cybersecurity. This encompasses a wide range of issues, spanning from safeguarding data privacy to addressing the challenges posed by online radicalization and cyber warfare. The significance of the socio-political components of these difficulties cannot be overstated, as the progress in technology has the potential to either facilitate regional collaboration or exacerbate rivalry and conflict.
The subject of gender equality in South Asia is undergoing significant socio-political transformations. The involvement of women in politics, business, and social action is seeing a notable upward trend, potentially yielding significant consequences for the growth and cooperation of the area. Nevertheless, persistent challenges such as cultural barriers, institutional inequalities, and gender-based violence remain significant obstacles.
The significant impact of media on creating public perception and subsequently affecting socio-political dynamics cannot be emphasized enough. Within the context of South Asia, the media frequently assumes a dual function, wherein it may serve as a conduit for promoting comprehension and collaboration or, alternatively, as a mechanism for disseminating propaganda that exacerbates societal divisions. The aforementioned phenomenon is clearly observable in the manner in which media outlets across different nations depict their neighboring countries, hence exerting a substantial influence on the potential for regional collaboration.
In light of evolving global dynamics, governments in South Asia are actively forging alliances that extend beyond their conventional allies. The interplay between India’s burgeoning ties with the United States, Pakistan’s alignment with China, and Sri Lanka’s approach to Russia has significant implications for regional politics. The task of managing these collaborations while sustaining regional stability is a multifaceted endeavor that necessitates careful equilibrium on the part of each country involved.
The socio-political dynamics of South Asia are multi-faceted, influenced by a rich tapestry of historical events, cultural diversities, and geopolitical factors. While traditional challenges like territorial disputes and political polarization continue to hinder regionalism, new dimensions such as climate change, cybersecurity, and gender equality are adding layers of complexity. However, despite these challenges, there remains an untapped potential for collaboration and growth. As South Asia evolves, understanding these intricate dynamics will be key to unlocking the region’s full potential.
Pakistan’s Role in the United Nations
Pakistan, since its inception in 1947, has played a pivotal role in the United Nations (UN), contributing significantly to global efforts in promoting peace, security, stability, and development. With a commitment to multilateral diplomacy and a history of active participation in various UN initiatives, Pakistan has emerged as a responsible and reliable member of the international community. Pakistan has played very important role in the United Nations and its contributions to global peace, security, stability, and development are always acknowledged.
One of the most visible and significant contributions of Pakistan to the UN is its involvement in peacekeeping missions. Pakistan is consistently among the top contributors of troops and personnel to UN peacekeeping operations. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, Pakistan had deployed over 6,000 troops and police officers in various UN peacekeeping missions around the world, making it one of the largest troop contributors.
Pakistan’s peacekeepers have been stationed in conflict zones across the globe, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo, and Haiti, where they have played a crucial role in maintaining peace, delivering humanitarian aid, and assisting in post-conflict reconstruction. These efforts have not only earned Pakistan international recognition but have also made a tangible difference in the lives of people affected by conflicts.
Advocacy for Disarmament
Pakistan has consistently advocated for disarmament and non-proliferation efforts within the United Nations. As a nuclear-armed state, Pakistan understands the grave consequences of nuclear warfare and has actively participated in disarmament negotiations. It has supported initiatives such as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) to promote global disarmament.
Humanitarian Assistance and Refugees
Pakistan has a long history of hosting refugees, particularly from neighboring Afghanistan. The country has welcomed millions of Afghan refugees over the decades, providing them with shelter, education, and healthcare. Pakistan’s efforts in this regard align with the UN’s mission to protect and assist refugees, contributing to regional stability and human development.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Pakistan is committed to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The government has taken significant steps to align its national development agenda with the SDGs, focusing on poverty reduction, gender equality, clean energy, and climate action, among other areas. Pakistan’s dedication to these goals demonstrates its commitment to global development and a sustainable future.
Climate Change Action
Pakistan recognizes the urgent need to address climate change, and it has actively engaged in international climate negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The country has committed to reducing its carbon emissions and increasing its reliance on clean energy sources. Pakistan’s participation in global climate efforts contributes to the stability and sustainability of the planet.
Mediation and Conflict Resolution
Pakistan has often played a role in mediating conflicts in the region, demonstrating its commitment to regional and global peace. It has facilitated talks between various parties in Afghanistan and has sought peaceful solutions to regional disputes, aligning with the UN’s mission to prevent and resolve conflicts.
On behalf of the Government and people of Pakistan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, attended the 78th Session of UN General Assembly and delivered a speech on 22 September 2023. The highlights of his speech are:
1. I convey to you, Mr. President, our warm congratulations on your election to guide the work of this historic Session of the UN General Assembly. I am confident that your vast diplomatic experience, and the sunny disposition of your beautiful Island country, will enable you to steer this Assembly to a most successful conclusion.
2. We are meeting at a tense and pivotal moment in modern history. Conflicts rage in Ukraine and in 50 other places around the world. Tensions between the global powers have continued to escalate. We see the rise of new and old military and political blocs. Geo-politics is resurging when geo-economics should have primacy in the world. The world cannot afford Cold War 2.0. There are far greater challenges confronting humankind which demand global cooperation and collective action.
3. The world’s economic prospects also appear gloomy. Global growth is slow. High interest rates could trigger a recession. A succession of exogenous “shocks” – Covid, conflict and climate change – have devastated the economies of many developing countries; many countries of the global South have barely managed to stave off defaults. Poverty and hunger have grown, reversing the development gains of three decades.
4. At yesterday’s SDG Summit, far-reaching commitments were made to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. We must ensure implementation of the “SDG Stimulus”; the re-channeling of unused Special Drawing Rights for development; the expansion of concessional lending by the Multilateral Development Banks; and the resolution of the debt problems of the 59 countries in debt distress.
5. Pakistan also looks forward to the fulfillment of the climate change commitments made at COP28 by the developed world: to provide over $100 billion in annual climate finance; allocate at least half of such finance for adaptation in developing countries; operationalise the Fund and funding arrangements for Loss and Damage; and accelerate their carbon emission mitigation targets to “keep alive” the goal of restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade. Attempts to selectively provide these funds on the basis of geo-political considerations should be resisted.
6. Pakistan’s triple food, fuel & finance challenge, is a prime illustration of the impacts of Covid, conflicts and climate on developing countries. Pakistan is one of the worst affected countries from the impacts of climate change. The epic floods of last summer submerged a third of our country, killed 1700 and displaced over 8 million people, destroyed vital infrastructure and caused over $30 billion in damage to Pakistan’s economy.
7. Pakistan is gratified by the commitments of over $10.5 billion for Pakistan’s comprehensive plan for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction with resilience – the 4RF Plan – at the Geneva Conference last January. Specific projects are being submitted to ensure timely funding and execution of the 4RF Plan. I hope our development partners will accord priority to allocation (release) of funds for our “resilient” recovery Plan which has been costed at $13 billion.
8. Pakistan’s government is committed to rapid economic recovery. We will stabilize our foreign exchange reserves and our currency; expand domestic revenues and, most importantly, mobilize significant domestic and external investment. To this end, we have established a Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to expedite investment decisions. Twenty-eight projects have been identified in priority sectors – agriculture, mining, energy and IT – for implementation in collaboration with Pakistan’s partners.
9. Pakistan’s long-term shift to geo-economics is well underway. The second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been initiated covering railway, infrastructure, and manufacturing projects.
10. Pakistan also looks forward to the early implementation of the “Connectivity” projects with Central Asia.
11. Development depends on peace. Pakistan is situated in one of the least economically integrated regions in the world. Pakistan believes that regions develop together. Therefore, Pakistan desires peaceful and productive relations with all our neighbours, including India. Kashmir is the key to peace between Pakistan and India.
12. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is one of the oldest issues on the agenda of the Security Council. India has evaded implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions which call for the “final disposition” of Jammu and Kashmir to be decided by its people through UN-supervised plebiscite.
13. Since 5 August 2019, India has deployed 900,000 troops in Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir to impose the “Final Solution” for Kashmir. To this end, India has imposed extended lockdowns and curfews; jailed all the genuine Kashmir leaders; violently suppressed peaceful protests; resorted to extra-judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris in fake “encounters” and so-called “cordon and search operations”, and imposed collective punishments, destroying entire villages. Access to occupied Kashmir, demanded by the UN High Commission for Human Rights and over a dozen Special Rapporteurs, has been denied by New Delhi.
14. The UN Security Council must secure the implementation of its resolutions on Kashmir. The UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) should be reinforced. Global powers should convince New Delhi to accept Pakistan’s offer of mutual restraint on strategic and conventional weapons.
15. Peace in Afghanistan is a strategic imperative for Pakistan. Pakistan shares the concerns of international community with respect to Afghanistan particularly the rights of women and girls. Yet, we advocate continued humanitarian assistance to a destitute Afghan population in which Afghan girls and women are the most vulnerable; as well as revival of the Afghan economy and implementation of the connectivity projects with Central Asia.
16. Pakistan’s first priority is to prevent and counter all terrorism from and within Afghanistan. Pakistan condemns the cross- border terrorist attacks against Pakistan by the TTP, Daesh and other groups operating from Afghanistan. We have sought Kabul’s support and cooperation to prevent these attacks. However, we are also taking necessary measures to end this externally encouraged terrorism.
17. Pakistan welcomes the progress made towards ending the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. In particular, we warmly welcome the normalization of relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Unfortunately, the tragedy of Palestine continues, with Israeli military raids, airstrikes, expansion of settlements and evictions of Palestinians. Durable peace can be established only through a two state solution and the establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian State within the pre June 1967 borders, with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital.
18. UN peacekeeping has been a success story. Over more than 6 decades, Pakistan has contributed 230,000 peacekeepers in 47 Missions across the world. Today, UN peacekeepers face complex and unprecedented challenges especially from criminal and terrorist groups, as in the Sahel. We must ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers. Pakistan shall continue to work with the UN to develop the capabilities and more robust mandates required for successful enforcement actions by UN and international forces where needed.
19. We must counter all terrorists without discrimination, including the rising threat posed by far-right extremist and fascist groups, such as Hindutva-inspired extremists threatening genocide against India’s Muslims and Christians. We also need to oppose “state terrorism”; address the root causes of terrorism, such as poverty, injustice and foreign occupation; and distinguish genuine freedom struggles from terrorism. Pakistan proposes the creation of a Committee of the General Assembly to oversee the balanced implementation of all four pillars of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.
20. Our progress based on rich history of cooperation, understanding, exchange and synthesis of ideas among (the) civilizations is imperiled today. The narratives advocating a clash of civilizations have done considerable harm to humanity’s progress. Such ideas have bred extremism, hatred and religious intolerance, including Islamophobia. Make no mistake; it is a latent threat that undermines millennia of progress. We need to cherish and celebrate our diversity and different ways of life. Mutual respect, sanctity of religious symbols, scriptures and personages should be ensured.
21. While Islamophobia is an age-old phenomenon; however, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it has assumed epidemic proportions, as manifested in the negative profiling of Muslims; and attacks on Islamic sites and symbols, such as the recent public burnings of the Holy Quran.
22. Last year, this Assembly adopted a Resolution, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC, declaring 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. Earlier this year, the Human Rights Council adopted an OIC resolution submitted by Pakistan, urging States to outlaw the burning of the Holy Quran and similar provocations. We welcome the legislation initiated by Denmark and contemplated by Sweden towards this end. Pakistan and the OIC countries will propose further steps to combat Islamophobia, including the appointment of a Special Envoy, creation of an Islamophobia data Centre, legal assistance to victims and an accountability process to punish Islamophobic crimes.
23. The complex global and regional challenges that the world faces today can be best addressed through effective multilateralism within the framework of the United Nations. However, multilateralism is being eschewed due to the unilateral policies of and strategic rivalry and tensions between global powers. Pakistan will continue to work actively to strengthen multilateral institutions and enhance global cooperation.
24. Pakistan looks forward to continuing negotiations on the scope and elements of the Summit of the Future and the Pact for the Future, building on the convergences that emerged in earlier consultations.
25. The Summit’s preparatory process must not disrupt existing negotiating processes such as the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the reform of the Security Council.
26. Pakistan does not believe in elitism within the comity of nations. The UN Charter principles of equality and sovereignty must be preserved in the interest of global peace and prosperity. Pakistan believes that adding additional permanent members to the Security Council will further erode its credibility and legitimacy. The widest possible agreement can be best achieved on the basis of the Uniting for Consensus Group’s proposal for expansion of the Council only in the non-permanent category with provision for a limited number of longer-term seats.
27. Pakistan believes that to build, preserve and promote peace and prosperity today, and in the future, it is vital to reduce great power rivalry and tensions; ensure strict adherence to the UN Charter; consistently implement Security Council resolutions; eliminate the root causes of conflicts; and respect the principles of non-use of force; self-determination; sovereignty and territorial integrity; noninterference in the internal affairs of States and peaceful co- existence.
28. Pakistan will work diligently and actively with all Member States to realize these vital elements of a new, equitable and peaceful world order.
Pakistan’s role in the United Nations is marked by its unwavering commitment to global peace, security, stability, and development. Through active participation in peacekeeping missions, advocacy for disarmament, humanitarian assistance, commitment to the SDGs, climate change action, and mediation efforts, Pakistan has consistently shown its dedication to the principles and goals of the United Nations. As a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan continues to make significant contributions that benefit not only its own citizens but also people around the world, reinforcing the importance of multilateral diplomacy and cooperation in addressing global challenges.
The G20, the Global South and India
The G20 summit in India turned out to be not ordinary event. The summit of representatives of the largest economies and military-political potentials showed global trends in the struggle for leadership and development. The G20 meeting demonstrated India’s diplomatic triumph, which proved a rather profound understanding of world processes and trends. The most important consequence of the summit was the adoption of a new global economic and infrastructure project to export goods from India through the Middle East to Europe. In addition, the countries of the Global South have shown that they are not ready to oppose Russia openly and do not want to politicize the Ukrainian crisis.
The Group of Twenty originated at the turn of the XXI. During the deep economic and financial crisis in Asia, the developed countries of the West sought to formalize a new coordination structure. The idea was to create a forum to exchange views and global coordination of financial and economic issues. Then, the finance ministers of the Group of Eight solicited an initiative to expand the range of countries to discuss financial policy issues, inviting such large and actively growing states as China and India.
By the beginning of the XXI, there was an objective viewpoint in Western capitals that it was impossible to solve world problems without involving India and China in the problems of global governance. The idea of globalization was becoming dominant among intellectuals and development leaders during this period. After the collapse of bipolarity and the disintegration of the USSR, the world lost unnecessary dividing lines, ideological enmity and confrontation between the two blocs. Globalization was becoming a natural and necessary aspect of development. The idea originated in the UK and the USA and has become prevalent in the capitals of developed countries. Thus, the Group of Twenty was created.
Nonetheless, after the founding conference in Berlin in December 1999, the G20 was almost forgotten. Before the new financial crisis in 2008, there were no summits: the main format was the annual meetings of finance ministers and heads of central banks. The fact that the situation in the global economy was critical is indicated by the fact that the G20 summits met not once a year but as emergency meetings. The first, named “anti—crisis”, was held in November 2008 in Washington, the next in April 2009 in London, and, in Pittsburgh in September of the same year.
The severity of the economic crisis has passed over time, and the G20 has upgraded to the political level. The Forum, which unites countries from different parts of the world, is much more representative and balanced than the G7 and allows world leaders to meet without organizing an official visit to discuss current affairs. The Group of Twenty, major advanced and emerging economies collectively represent about 80-90% of the world’s gross national product, 70-80% of world trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population. The Group includes 19 major national economies, as well as The European Union as a joint participant.
The G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9-10 was an outstanding event in the life of this organization. Three aspects can be stressed out. First, the G20 has expanded at the expense of the African Union. Secondly, the summit reached an agreement on creating a transport corridor that will be completed by India and its partners and is considered by New Delhi and the West as an alternative to the Chinese One Belt, One Road project. If this transport project is successfully implemented, it can change the balance of power in the global economy and significantly strengthen India’s position in the international system. Thirdly, the topic concerning the Ukrainian-Russian conflict was essentially secondary for the first time since February 2022 at a representative interstate forum. The countries of the Global South refused to politicize this conflict and take sides.
All three developments have become possible thanks to the successful work of Indian diplomacy. Apparently, it is safe to talk about India as a growing and established contender for the status of a great power. The last day of the summit was marked by a visit of its participants to the Raj Ghat memorial, created at the cremation site of the national hero of India – Mahatma Gandhi.
From the perspective of world politics, the most important idea was the creation of a new transport corridor, which was supported by all the largest economies in the world. It was decided to develop an action plan within a few months and start implementation. Its goal is to launch a large–scale project for the construction of railways and ports intended to transport goods from India to the Middle East and Europe. The memorandum of understanding, based on which the project is being created, is signed by Joseph Biden, Narendra Modi, and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman al Saud.
China’s excessive and active growth worries the most developed countries of the world, especially the United States and Great Britain. Some concern is also present in a number of Asian capitals, including Japan, India, South Korea, and partly Vietnam. Growth generates China’s ambitions, and intentions to spread its power and influence have a particular impact on the actions of other major players. Having a complicated history of relations with China, several countries are looking for formats and systems of cooperation to deter possible aggressive attempts to expand their influence and growth. Many intellectuals are convinced that the confrontation between the United States and China will become the main and determining factor of the XXI. The idea of a new transport corridor, which has become a demonstration of the success of the diplomacy of India and its partners in the West, has a specific potential for diversifying transport supplies and hedging the risks of Chinese growth.
Therefore, the G-20 summit was a success for India and demonstrated a sufficiently deep understanding of world processes, stability, and professionalism of its diplomacy. New Delhi’s ideas and projects have been supported by many players, including the conflicting West and East. India has become a conductor and mentor of the interests of the Global South. The expansion of the G20 at the summit in India at the expense of the African Union has become a symbol of this. In addition, despite the high level of conflict in current international relations and pressure, India managed to protect the economic summit from excessive politicization and collective condemnation.
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