Current Affairs 2023
India aims to be the voice of the Global South by representing the interests of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America at the virtual Voice of Global South Summit. India also recognizes the need for sustainable development and climate justice and the need for changes in international institutions.
Jan 13, 2023
3 min read
During the virtual Voice of Global South summit, the Prime Minister of India declared that the countries of the Global South will drive the world economy in the 21st century. The summit aimed to stress the importance of "Respond, Recognize, Respect, and Reform" for the Global South. The world should respond to the priorities of the Global South, recognize the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities for global challenges", respect the sovereignty of all nations and reform international institutions like the United Nations.
The North-South Divide, as it is known, was first conceptualized in the 1980s through the Brandt Line which was developed as a way of showing how the world was geographically split into relatively richer and poorer nations. According to this model, richer countries are almost all located in the Northern Hemisphere, except for Australia and New Zealand, while poorer countries are mostly located in tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. The Global North refers loosely to countries like the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. The Global South includes countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. However, in recent decades, some countries in the South like China have emerged economically, challenging the idea that the North is the ideal.
India is well-positioned to become the "Voice of the Global South" due to a combination of factors. India harmonizes various interests that are ingrained deeply in India's history and culture. Countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America trust India to speak up for them. India has been at the forefront of expressing its concerns about fuel, food, and fertilizers. India also acknowledges the fact that sustainable development, climate action and climate justice could be side-tracked due to more dominant issues.
The global order today is not truly reflective of the state of the world. India has to take the lead in pushing for collective action. Institutions and practices created 75 years ago still dominate global decision-making. India supports the idea of introducing changes, not just in the United Nations but in other international institutions as well.
Championing the Global South today would demand more active Indian engagement with the messy regional politics within the developing world. India must also come to terms with the fact that the Global South is not a coherent group and does not have a single shared agenda. There is much differentiation within the South today in terms of wealth and power, needs and capabilities. This demands a tailored Indian policy for different regions and groups of the developing world.
India is eager to become a bridge between the North and the South by focusing on practical outcomes rather than returning to old ideological battles. If India can translate this ambition into effective policy, there will be no contradiction between the simultaneous pursuit of universal and particular goals. In this way, India can truly become the Voice of the Global South and lead the way in shaping a more equitable and just global order.
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