FORTALEZA: In his first major foreign policy address after taking charge of the world’s most populous democracy, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underlined the need for restoring “a climate of peace and stability” in a crisis-ridden world and made a strong pitch for the reform of global governance institutions to reflect contemporary realities, including the UN and the IMF.
In the complex chessboard of global geopolitics, Modi, dressed in a dapper grey bandh-gala suit, looked at ease as he alluded to the traditional Indian ideal of vasundhara kutumbakam and called for the world to unite to collectively face a host of cross-cutting threats and issues, including terrorism, climate change and sustainable development.
The picture that came through in Mr Modi´s speech was that of a world gripped by “a high level of turmoil and uncertainty” and plunged into a prolonged global economic weaknesss. His speech was, however, anything but a gloom-and-doom narrative, but radiated hope about an emerging world order where nationalistic rivalries give way to proactive cooperation across a full spectrum of trans-national issues.
“Restoring a climate of peace and stability is therefore an urgent need for global progress and prosperity,” Mr Modi told the leaders of BRICS countries which collectively account for over 20 per cent of the world’s GDP, one-fourth of the world’s landmass and one-fourth of the world’s population.
“I come from a land where the idea of the ‘whole world being one family’ is rooted in our ethos – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. The world must unite as one to decisively confront global challenges,” he said in a session on “Political Coordination: “International Governance & Regional Crises” at the sixth BRICS summit being held in the Brazilian port city of Fortaleza.
Reforming global governance architecture
Reform of global governance institutions, a driving strategic force that binds the BRICS grouping, figured prominently in his simple but eloquent speech. “Corrective action must begin with the reform of institutions of global governance. This has been on the BRICS agenda since its inception.”
“Institutions like the UN Security Council and IMF need urgent reform. They must become more representative and reflect ground realities.”
Give diplomacy a chance
Alluding to turbulence and conflict in a vast region spanning from Afghanistan to Africa, Prime Minister Modi reminded the international community of the dangers of being mute spectators and underlined the imperative need for multilateral efforts and diplomacy-based solutions to a festering hotspots, including Iran, Iraq Syria and Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan is facing an uncertain future. The Afghan people have suffered for decades. The World must unite to support them in building a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous country.”
“We must help Afghanistan fight the forces of terrorism. This is important for it to preserve the progress it has made in the last decade,” he said while stressing that India will continue to assist Afghanistan in building its capacity; in governance, security and economic development.
“We look forward to working with our BRICS partners in this regard.”
Mr Modi voiced concern over the volatile situation in the Middle East, and pointed out that the festering conflicts in the region directly impact the lives of over 7 million Indians who live in this energy-rich region. He also underscored the need for collective BRICS efforts to help end the conflict in Iraq.
Deny sanctuary to terrorists
Given India’s susceptibility to terrorism and trans-national linkages of terrorist outfits, Mr Modi underscored that “terrorism is a threat that has assumed war-like proportions,” and warned against selective targeting of terrorists.
“I firmly believe that terrorism, in any shape or form, is against Humanity. There should be Zero Tolerance towards Terrorism. Humanity must unite, and isolate terrorist forces, especially states that flout basic norms. Selective targeting of terrorism will not work.”
The prime minister urged BRICS countries to translate their political resolve into a concrete and coordinated plan of action. “I call for an early adoption by the UN, of the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.”
In a veiled allusion to Pakistan, Mr Modi exhorted the international community to “put collective pressure on States to deny sanctuaries and support to terrorists.”
“In conclusion, I would say that this unique grouping has the capacity to play an important role in advancing global peace and stability. We should move in that direction in a focused manner,” he said.
(Manish Chand is Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network, www.indiawrites.org, a portal and e-magazine-journal focused on international affairs, emerging powers and the India Story. He is in Fortaleza to report and analyse the sixth BRICS summit for India Writes Network)
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- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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