There was no great sense of optimism, leave alone any certainty, about the world resolving the major issues of 2022 when it entered 2023. And things are looking no brighter after a fortnight, which may be the reason why Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed less than the eternal optimist that he has been in the recent past.
The world is in crisis and there is no end in sight paraphrased Mr Modi’s concerns as he addressed the Global South, a collection of 120 Asian, African, and Latin American countries that do not have the economic clout to get on to the high table like the G-7 or even the wider global representation that is the G-20 of which India will be the president this year.
The principal shock of the year past was the war that has raged since February 24, 2022, and not even the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is, even figuratively, in sight, though the Western media would like to believe that Vladimir Putin is under such pressure over the war that he is trying to pin the blame on a rogue mercenary company. The spectre of an all-out war is getting more and more ominous as the inability to conquer stresses out the invader.
India, with its multi-alignment strategy scoring points as it tries to balance loyalty and dependence on Russian military equipment, is ambitious enough to believe that it has a major leadership role to play in the Global South. The drive is not new since Mrs Indira Gandhi may have been motivated by a similar ambition four decades ago when the world was far more bipolar than it is now.
India’s progress in global economic ranking has invested the latest initiative with greater credibility, so too has the fact that India is acknowledged to be a bright spot amid the post-Covid slump and the Ukraine war effect on energy and food prices. It is undeniable that, while the nations of the Global South had little to do with the emergence of the pandemic or fighting the Ukraine war, their suffering of the consequences is disproportionately large.
Truth to tell, the South could get more vocal, but it still needs finance from the First World and China to mitigate the ill effects of climate change and also to withstand inflationary stress as the war in Ukraine rages on.