Africa’s rise crucial in dynamic global order — India’s Foreign Minister

By Busayo Onijala

  In the changing global order, the rise of Africa is very crucial, says Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishanker, India’s Minister of External Affairs.

Jaishanker, who is currently on a visit to Nigeria, made this known on Sunday evening in Lagos.

He spoke at a lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs(NIIA) titled, “Resetting the Global Agenda: The Role of India and the Global South.”

According to Jaishanker, the global agenda, in many ways today, is about restoring the world to its natural state because the world was diverse and still is.

He noted that the global south was a mindset with some principles for non-interference, non-alignment and non-judgment as well as about solidarity and sharing.

“So, how does the global south today deal with the global north? I think in many ways, by being empathetic, understanding, and being respectful while recognising that every country has its sovereignty.

“Every country has its culture and traditions and solutions must be found in a way in which they are not imposed, but are organically grown by the society to actually cultivate.”

Jaishanker highlighted three global challenges that had to be overcome in order to get along with the global agenda.

These, he said, include the quest to make the world a better place, globalisation and narrative setting.

The minister said globalisation had been a game changer and was a combination of economics, a shared common dependence, and a degree of mobility that had never been experienced.

He, however said while globalisation has had many positive results, it also had led to deep economic concentrations, adding that much of the world today depended on production.

“COVID-19 brought home to every one of us that we are often dependent on suppliers and producers for the most basic things of our life.

“The third challenge, narrative setting, is actually a very powerful force in international relations.

“We also have the challenges of the polarisation of the world. Conflicts such as the one in Ukraine have polarised the east and the west. How do we talk about a global agenda when there is polarisation?”

Speaking on how his country’s relations with Nigeria could yield more positive outcomes, he said India has had its ups and downs.

He however noted that what had changed in the last 10 years was the innocence, leadership, and understanding of technology, adding that a different kind of energy had been awoken.

“It’s very hard to say the exact combinations or factors that accelerate national growth and progress.

“One of the big changes that happened in my country is very basic changes such as connecting houses to pipe water. Basic things are as important as the biggest things and one can be used to deploy the other.”

Jaishanker also said neo-colonialism was pervasive and visible in so many ways, noting that the world was still far away from being a just, and equitable planet.

“Now we are struggling for economic strength. How do we actually get something that is more mutually respectful and not just as a diplomatic gesture?

“The world will not be truly diverse, or have a true sense of ownership if 54 countries of the world are left out of the manner in which things are being discussed.

“India’s growth and prosperity is not complete until we see that Africa has gotten what is rightfully theirs,” he said.

Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, Director-General, NIIA said India was a great partner with Nigeria, adding that both nations have had larger global frameworks and networks, beginning with the non-aligned movement.

On his part, India has been in the forefront of solidarity with Nigeria considering that they opened diplomatic ties with Nigeria two years before her independence.

“India is a country that we share so much in common with and we are delighted to be hosting the minister, and what greater time than now, seeing that the  world is at several reflection points.

“There have been conversations ongoing about the need to recalibrate the global order, the search for global justice, the search for global equity, all of those issues that have been thrown up by the experiences that we’ve had since the days of COVID.

“Also, the demands for the democratisation of the multilateral institutions, especially the demand for permanent seats for the global south in the UN Security Council.

“So we wanted to see how India, as a great power in the world, collaborates with other great powers in the world, like Nigeria on these kinds of issues,” Osaghae said. (NAN)