[Editorial Analysis] The G-7 opportunity

Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: G-7
Mains level: Important global groupings and their mandate

Context:

• The Cornwall summit of the G-7 hosted by the UK promises to be a definitive moment in the political evolution of the west
• Also, the summit which will see Indian PM’s digital participation also marks a vital step towards a new global compact between India and the West.

What is Group of 7 or G-7?

• The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal club of wealthy democracies consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
• The heads of government of the member states, as well as the representatives of the European Union, meet at the annual G7 Summit.
• The G7 represents 58% of the global net wealth and more than 46% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) based on nominal values, and more than 32% of the global GDP based on purchasing power parity.

What is Biden’s strategy?

• In his 1st abroad tour, Biden wants to reverse the global perception of a flailing West.
• To demonstrate that the collective West is an enduring force to reckon with under American leadership, he declared that “America is back”.
• In his tour, Biden to confer with the leaders of NATO and join a summit of the US and European Union.
• In calling for the normalization of relations with Russia, Biden seems to take a fresh look at Washington’s fraught relationship with Moscow.

India-US in this scenario:

• While Trump’s policies weakened the West, Biden is determined to strengthen US alliances and draw India into a new global architecture.
• The following factors have generated an unprecedented convergence between India and the West:
• Challenges from an increasingly aggressive China,
• Urgent mitigation of climate change,
• Construction of a post-pandemic international order.
• Biden’s quick elevation of the Quad to the summit level was about defining a new agenda for the Indo-Pacific region.

UK Johnson’s View:

• The behind PM Johnson’s invitation to India, South Africa and South Korea to join the G-7 summit is that
• He wants to build a coalition of leading democracies that is based more broadly than the geographic West
• to help fight and build back better from the pandemic impact.
• Create a greener and more prosperous future.
• India is at the centre of that Western calculus.

India and G-7:

• India is not participating for the 1st time in G-7, but for India too the Cornwall summit comes amidst intensifying strategic cooperation with the West that include
• Strong bilateral strategic cooperation with the US, France, UK and the Quad.
• The trilateral partnerships with France and Australia as well as Japan and Australia.
• It also stepped up engagement with the EU.

The China Factor behind the increasing intensity of India’s engagement with the West:

• The continuous deterioration of the relationship with China on the background of frequent military crises have compelled India to reevaluate its threats perceptions,
• Besides the above threat, India realized that strong global cooperation with China wouldn’t be possible,
• At the end of the Cold war, India saw China as a natural partner in the construction of a multipolar world to limit the dangers of a US-dominated unipolar world.
• But today, China is the greatest obstacle to India’s global aspirations where
• It is the only great power that voted against India’s permanent membership in the UNSC and blocked its NSG membership.
• China today rakes up the Kashmir question the UN to create hinders for India.
• On the trade front too, there is a growing imbalance with China and the negative impact of Chinese imports on India’s domestic manufacturing resulted in India walking away from China-dominated RCEP.
• India not only reluctant to integrate with the China-led Asian economic order but it is also turning to the west for trade agreements.
• India is eager to emerge as a critical node in future supply chains oriented to the democratic world.

Moscow in the middle:

• At a time when China’s problem for India became acute, Russia has moved closer to China but India don’t want to abandon its longstanding ties with Russia.
• However, the above approach came under stress when Russia-US ties deteriorated quickly.
• But with a renewed dialogue between the US and Moscow, India hopes for a relaxation of tensions between them that will ease India’s navigation among the great powers.

Way ahead:

• The growing convergence of India’s and West’s interests does not mean everything is on good terms. The following are some divergent areas:
• The economic role of the state
• Democratic regulation of the social media and the technology giants.
• Though it is not easy to translate the broad convergence between both into tangible cooperation.
• But with sustained negotiations, the shared interests can be converted into concrete outcomes.
• All these years, India has default political orientation is looking east and mobilizing the south.
• But with changing times, India while continues to strengthen its partnership in Asia and the global south, a more productive partnership with the West helps India to secure its growing national interests and adds new depth to its international relations.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, consider the following statements:
1. India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 7.3% in 2020-21, as per provisional National Income estimates released by the National Statistical Office.
2. Only two sectors bucked the trend of negative GVA growth are agriculture, forestry and fishing, which rose 3.6%, and electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services (up 1.9%).
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) “What introduces friction into the ties between India and the United States is that Washington is still unable to find for India a position in its global strategy, which would satisfy India’s National self-esteem and ambitions” Explain with suitable examples.

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