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Rare coincidences are sometimes overlooked. Last week, in New Delhi, an unusual coincidence occurred when both Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and British foreign secretary Liz Truss visited the capital on the same day. The two individuals represent opposing global poles. Consider the situation: both had to travel to Lutyens’ Delhi with their different thoughts and offers as if they were the “sales director" of a major corporation.

Because of the Ukraine conflict, tensions between Russia and the West are at an all-time high. India, the world’s largest democracy, has become critical for both sides in such a situation. What proposals did they bring with them? Lavrov made a straightforward offer: buy oil and weapons from us at a reduced price. Although it is unknown if the two countries will meet to discuss furthering ties, it will be impossible to forget the good old days when Moscow was always nice to New Delhi. On the basis of the longstanding confidence, Lavrov also urged India to intervene in the conflict.

What was Truss’ reaction? What else than the dream of democracy and prosperity?

People worldwide believed in this dream because life was so harsh back then. In 1990, 36% of the global population was living in abject poverty. It fell to 10% over the next 25 years. It was predicted that by 2030, no one on this planet will be classified as “very impoverished." No one could have predicted that a pandemic would snuff out such lovely ideals and that the allure of capitalism-induced affluence would become a symbol of a dilapidated system.

According to the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research, covid-19 has pushed 8% of the world’s population back into poverty. The population of poorer nations has borne the brunt of the pandemic, with 230 million people in India forced back to the lowest levels of poverty.

What were the leaders of rich countries doing during the pandemic, when the people of poor and developing countries were suffering? They had shut down their land and air routes. They even became indifferent to the rest of the world. During that dismal moment, people were astounded to see how the promise of a “Global Village" had been lost. It could not have been predicted that the capitalist system’s promises would be so completely blown away in just 30 years. In the 1990s, it was also difficult to imagine. The West’s authorities, who had handled the poor world with ruthlessness, were also attempting to pin the blame on the East by dubbing covid as the Chinese virus.’ The instigator of this hatred was none other than then US President Donald Trump.

Further, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Haiti, Libya and Syria have all suffered massive losses at the hands of the West as a result of various strikes by the superpowers over the last three decades. Countries that could not be directly assaulted were plunged into civil wars. Such activities have wreaked havoc even on well-off countries like Iraq. According to UN estimates, 8.40 million people had to be relocated globally by the middle of 2021. Attacks, civil war, and terrorism were the main cause.

As a result, whether Russia attacks Syria, Crimea or Ukraine, the West is in no position to intervene. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has led his country down a path of doom as a result of their many hollow assurances. As of 30 March, 4 million Ukrainians had moved to other countries, while 6 million were compelled to seek asylum.

Now that the West’s claims have been exposed, it is time to show them their place. It is no surprise that when Truss tried to advise India on 31 March, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar responded appropriately. He exposed the West’s double standards by claiming that European countries had imported 15% more oil and gas from Russia in March than the previous month. Earlier, Jaishankar had responded appropriately to China’s Foreign Minister, saying that India would not be pressured.

This is the New India. Since the start of the war, important leaders from many countries have visited New Delhi, including the Prime Minister of Japan, the ‘Deputy’ of the American Security Adviser, and the Foreign Minister of Greece. Many more important officials are expected to visit North Block in the following days. India is, without a doubt, a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has wreaked havoc on Europe, which is already beset by its own inner contradictions. This is the finest time for our ministry of external affairs to chalk out a strategy that would get us to our goal.

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