Leaders worldwide convened in India for the G20 summit, including the United States (US) Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
They assembled to discuss global challenges such as food and energy security, climate change, and the world’s ongoing conflicts, particularly in Ukraine.
India’s foreign policy was at a critical juncture during the G-20 summit. The nation’s non-alignment policy has been beneficial in the past, but the evolving geopolitical environment called for a more complex strategy.
The historic visit of the Foreign Ministers of the United States, China, and Russia to India posed a tremendous diplomatic challenge for India.
This report will investigate the diplomatic difficulty India experienced due to the visits of these three significant global leaders. It will also examine the historical framework of India’s international relations to contextualize the current situation.
Historical Context of India’s International Relations
Indian international relations have been shaped by various circumstances, including its colonial heritage, geographical position, and cultural diversity. Before 1947, India was under British dominion for approximately 200 years.
During the Cold War, India pursued a non-alignment policy to maintain neutrality between the two superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union.
India has built diplomatic connections with superpowers and other countries worldwide because of its non-alignment policy. Its relations with them have been rocky, with each country having different interests in the region.
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It has recently grown closer to the US, notably in military and security. However, the US has criticized India’s economic policies and human rights record, which impacted India’s relations with it.
It is still highly reliant on Russia for military hardware. India is one of Russia’s largest buyers of military weapons, and any significant shift in this relationship would have far-reaching implications for India’s military modernization aspirations.
India’s security concerns have also influenced its stance toward the Ukraine situation. The boundary issue in Ladakh with China and Chinese claims in the South China Sea have strained relations between the two nations.
Notably, China has increased its regional influence through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other economic projects. While Russia has long been an ally of India, but its ties with India have been affected by its developing connections with China.
Analyzing the Diplomatic Challenge
India’s rise as a G-20 host in international diplomacy has given it an enormous subject in balancing its relations with the US, China, and Russia.
India endeavored to navigate these nations’ conflicting philosophies as the US, Russia, and China intensified their hostilities.
The US military recently shot down a Chinese spy balloon, which led to the cancellation of Secretary of State Blinken’s intended trip to Beijing.
In addition, Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a 10-minute conversation on the sidelines of a summit.
Antony Blinken emphasized the devastation of Russia’s aggressive war. He urged G20 associates to strive for a peaceful resolution.
In retaliation, Russia charged that the US & European Union (EU) supported terrorism. It argued that by doing this, the destructive trade barriers the West had put in place to prevent imports of necessary goods from accessing their markets would come to light.
Notwithstanding this, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated his determination to highlight the global south’s problems, such as climate change and food and energy security.
The success of the most recent G-20 ministerial summit was the sole point on which India insisted.
Nevertheless, the conference revealed that China and Russia are developing their ties despite various nations, led by the US, adopting sanctions to isolate and punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
The latest G-20 ministerial meeting was presided over by India. It aimed to bring the leaders of the US, China, and Russia together.
Because of its historical non-alignment, India maintained ties with all three nations. India’s principal objective was to ensure the success of the G-20.
India was in a challenging situation as it struggled to manage the divergent perspectives of these significant powers as tensions between the US, Russia, and China escalated.
As tensions between the US and China as well as US and Russia stayed high, it took a lot of effort for India to negotiate with both countries to achieve equilibrium.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement blaming the US and the EU for “terrorism” and encouraging aggression in Ukraine added to India’s difficulties in bringing all member nations to an agreement on Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
India had to stay neutral to avoid being engulfed by either side. The Indian government could not afford to lose its goodwill with the US or Russia.
Throughout the summit, India tirelessly campaigned to emphasize South global problems, like climate change and food and energy security.
Despite that Foreign Ministers from the G-20 countries could not issue a joint statement because of Russia-Ukraine Invasion.
The G-20’s failure to make an announcement illustrates how challenging it is for states with different agendas to find common ground.