Author: Alberto Cossu – 11/09/2023
India gives a helping hand to the West at the G20 summit
By Alberto Cossu
September 10, 2023
The G20 summit in New Delhi succeeded in producing a shared declaration from the participating countries on the first day, dispelling doubts that the consensus-building process would be rather difficult given the different positions of the member states.
The formula “One planet, One family, and we share one future” has been approved by the leaders present. This reflects the belief that the world is interconnected and that we all need to work together to solve its problems. In short, the G20 leaders recognize the challenges the world is facing and commit to working together to address them. They focus in particular on climate change, poverty, inequality, and economic development.
From this perspective, the summit focused in particular on infrastructure investments as a stimulus for economic development, especially that of the Global South, while attenuating the more conflictual aspects, such as the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which were seen as divisive.
Russia is not condemned, but given that the dissent on this point would have led to an exercise perhaps impossible to achieve unanimity, it was preferred to launch an appeal and a generic condemnation against the use of war to seize territories belonging to other state entities.
Instead, particular emphasis was placed on the opening of a logistic corridor between India and the Mediterranean, and the announcement of the European Union’s intention to invest in logistic infrastructure in Africa, especially in Angola. In addition, the African Union, which in some way represents a part of the Global South, was invited as a permanent member of the G20 thanks to the commitment of India, which has pursued this result since assuming the presidency.
The India-Mediterranean corridor has been talked about for some time, immediately after the Abraham Accords of September 2020, which opened new perspectives for dialogue in the Middle East. In particular, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, joining Egypt, Morocco, resumed diplomatic relations, launching a season of dialogue and profitable economic relations for all. The New York Times at the time, through the pen of its leading Middle East expert, defined it as a political earthquake. The Palestinian problem remained always open, but at least conditions were created to create a positive climate that could favor future developments.
The corridor is a logistic link between the ports of Mumbai, Dubai and Haifa, and the Mediterranean, capable of offering India a projection towards Europe.
The project was born as an alternative to the Chinese Silk Road, which India refused to join. In fact, it was interpreted as a way to cut India out. The Corridor with Pakistan, pivoted on the port of Gwadar, is a pillar axis of the Silk Road.
It is seen, however, as an attempt by China to bypass the Indian subcontinent and overcome the choke point of the Strait of Malacca, which is controlled by India.
The original project envisaged also relying on the port of Chabahar in Iran for the direction towards North and Central Asia, in particular towards Afghanistan, a country with which, before the
withdrawal of American and NATO troops from the country, it had commercial
relations also for the purpose of a relaunch that then vanished.
All this because the framework of relations with Pakistan prevented a direct relationship by land
Today, the connection project obtained the support of Saudi Arabia, which will be crossed by a railway line, but even more importantly, the legitimation in an international context such as the G20 Summit.
In short, it seems that from this Summit India is the country that has been able to maximize its national interests more than others.
It has avoided that thorny issues such as the war between Russia and Ukraine would take the upper hand, in some way satisfying Russia, which remains an important partner, has obtained the legitimation for the India-Med corridor project, essential for projecting India to the Middle East and towards the Mediterranean, but also to propose agricultural products and therefore to give an important boost to Indian agriculture.
The project, in fact, is part of an agreement of collaboration with Israel for assistance in advanced technologies in the agricultural sector and the creation of a chain of technologically advanced warehouses – in partnership with the United Arab Emirates – for the transport of Indian agrifood to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean destinations.
Finally, it gave the opportunity to the West and in particular to the United States to present it as its creation in the absence of valid alternatives.
Europe is not standing by and is proposing, following India, a strategic project with Africa, in particular with Angola.
China perhaps sees itself caught off guard, but it has the energy and resources to be able to present alternative proposals or that can be integrated.
From this summit, it seems clear the intention to focus more on problems that attract the attention of everyone, such as economic development in less developed countries, and in particular Africa, which is admitted to the summit through the African Union as a permanent member. A relevant result because a part of the world will have the opportunity to present its vision of things and develop projects in function ofits economic development needs.