In 1950, India’s then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru squandered a golden opportunity for India to become a member of the United Nations Security Council by instead passing on the seat to China. Seventy-one years later, PM Modi, addressing the 76th UNGA in New York, rebuked the UN for its fallacy on the issue of Covid-19 origins and China’s manipulated rank in Ease of Doing Business. In an equally unambiguous caveat to our vicious Himalayan neighbour, PM Modi asserted, “Oceans are meant for use, not abuse…this lifeline needs to be safeguarded from expansionism and exclusion.”
Active QUAD renders BRICS inadequate
PM Modi’s assertive tenor, apart from reflecting India’s confidence in the present world order, also marked the combative nature of QUAD. It needs to be noted here that an active QUAD, by its very nature, renders BRICS inadequate if not redundant. BRICS is an alliance of need, if not compulsion, between uncomfortable allies. QUAD, on the other hand, is an alliance of choice between natural complementing allies. That QUAD would always be seen as antithetical to China and its allies, was the reason why it took nearly a decade after Japan’s ex-PM Shinzo Abe first proposed the idea, for the grouping to gain teeth. India, in a real sense, warmed up to the grouping only after the Doklam clash of 2017. The pandemic, obviously created an opportunity, some born out of necessity, which made the QUAD shed its diffidence. The need to combat China’s vicious designs was a formal need and responsibility of the democratic world, which has now found active expression in QUAD.
In life and in geopolitics, there is no formal need to dissolve groupings. At times, they just outlive their utility. The SAARC is a classic case in point. BRICS cannot be about beating around the bush, which the C in it continues to peddle chaos across the world. BRICS will continue to exist, like SAARC, but will progressively lose its sheen. The BRICs meeting will need an effort, a QUAD summit will be more effortless.
Alliance to take on Communist-Islamist alliance
One of India’s biggest diplomatic successes has been the virtual global ostracization of Pakistan post the Uri attacks. This has mainly been achieved due to India’s consistent approach towards Pakistan. Unlike governments of the past that have shown a tearing hurry to offer an olive branch to Pakistan and rushed into restarting dialogue, Modi has remained firm- till Pak dismantles its terror infrastructure, there is no room for talks. After its disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, the USA too sees more merit and credibility in India’s clear-cut stand than its own confused one. India, in fact, has been so robust in declaring Pakistan as a proud manufacturer and exporter of terrorism that now the reiteration comes easy. A first secretary at UNGA, Sneha Dubey, sounds more credible than the Pakistan PM.
By implication, therefore, QUAD is that league of progressive democracies that is ready to take on the Communist-Islamist nexus which increasingly threatens the ‘global good’ which QUAD stands for. That Narendra Modi is the most articulate and vocal leader of the QUAD alliance, gives India an unprecedented vantage position in shaping the future of world politics.
Geopolitics aside, the QUAD alliance joining hands to secure semi-conductors and 5 G Tech supply chains, is of huge significance to India.
PM Modi has a knack for rising to the occasion every single time. He did so with class and ease in his UNGA speech. Delivered in Hindi, in less than 20 minutes, he seamlessly traversed all significant issues impacting the world’s future.
Representing the Mother of Democracy and based on his own experiences, the PM affirmed that democracy can deliver, democracy has delivered. Invoking inclusiveness as outlined by Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s Integral Humanism philosophy, he emphasized, his governance vision is one where no one is left behind. PM Modi equally highlighted the transformational role of technology in our daily lives, emphasizing furthermore the significance of Technology with Democratic Values. Modi spoke of India’s strong record on climate action and its ambitious vision, including renewable energy goals and green hydrogen. On Afghanistan, he remained firm, asserting the country must not allow use of its soil by terrorists. Nor should its predicament be taken advantage of by other states. PM Modi emphasized the world has an obligation to protect Afghan women, children and minorities.
The message at the end of PM Modi’s US tour is loud and clear. India is ready to lead the new world order and by example of its own credible record in three most critical spheres- Fighting terror, conserving environment, combating Covid. India’s exemplary performance in all these spheres, coupled by the reforms slew undertaken in the last year and half, make India’s the preferred business and investment destination.
PM Modi’s epochal words “When India grows the world grows…When India reforms, the world transforms” will be enshrined in history and chime generations later. PM Modi has turned this US visit into a watershed moment for India in world politics where India sets the agenda in years to come.
(The writer is and author and BJP spokesperson)