Published:  12:25 AM, 09 June 2021

India and other democracies of the world getting closer

India and other democracies of the world getting closer
Geopolitics of last one decade especially few years indicate that G-7, EU, and their allies are in friction with China and moving closer to India. This evolutionary process based on values is helping the progress of this world. 

In May the Group of Seven Foreign and Development Ministers' Meeting took place in London, where discussions were held on some of the most critical issues that have been shaping the international context recently. Besides the G7 members themselves--Italy, the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and France, along with the high representative of the European Union--other countries' leaders were invited to the event as guests. Among them were India, Australia, South Korea, Brunei (as the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and South Africa.

The composition of the guests' crowd suggests that the G7 members have accepted the prevailing conditions, analyzed and dealt with current global dynamics. Countries such as many of those that belong to ASEAN are destined to increase their relevance on the global scene. Consequently, Western actors must expand the level of engagement with them. The discussions during the meeting ranged widely, but China certainly occupied a central role. The key points on which the ministers agreed have created an impact on the relations between Beijing and the G7.

First, concerns have continued to arise around Beijing's treatment of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang. For this purpose, according to the communiqué published after the meeting, the G7 leaders would support "independent and unfettered access to Xinjiang to investigate the situation."

Second, Hong Kong was a hot topic, with the G7 ministers discussing its level of autonomy and the importance of upholding its judicial system in order to avoid the transfer of cases to the mainland.

Last, dynamics in the East and South China Seas constituted an additional source of uncertainty, with the ministers highlighting their opposition to any unilateral actions that could undermine the region's stability through militarization, coercion and intimidatory moves across the Taiwan Strait. It should be added that, even considering that the G7, in the same communiqué, remained open to enhancing collaborative mechanisms with Beijing--to fight against climate change, to support the economic recovery, to face the Covid-19 crisis and to promote global peace--it is evident that the level of cooperation between China and the Western powers will be affected by the failure to resolve issues on which they disagree, likely increasing the degree of scepticism on both sides.

Similarly, these same issues are gradually moving the European Union further from Beijing. The European Parliament recently passed a motion to freeze discussions on the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement for Investment (CAI), an important pillar that gained special attention last December, when the parties made progress in negotiations to create a level playing field for investors and to support trade relations.

Nonetheless, in March this year, after the EU imposed sanctions against some Chinese officials and Chinese entities in the complex context of alleged human-rights abuses in Xinjiang, Beijing responded by targeting European officials, academics and diplomats who were accused of "spreading false information" and thus prohibited from entering China and its Special Administrative Regions. But this tug-of-war between the EU and China has probably accelerated the European Union's efforts to reinforce its strategic partnerships with other global actors specially to India.

On May 8, a virtual EU-India Leaders' Meeting took place with the goal of resuming free-trade negotiations, launching a connectivity partnership, and cooperating in the fights against the pandemic and climate change. While the EU was represented by the 27 leaders together with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, India was represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This indicates the importance the both the sides have given to the co operations.

Responding to the dramatic surge of Covid-19 cases in India, the EU demonstrated its solidarity, mobilizing the supply of oxygen, ventilators and medication, welcoming a stronger contribution to the production of vaccines, and inviting New Delhi to participate in working toward an international treaty on pandemics within the framework of the World Health Organization.

It may be mentioned that 131 vaccines development projects have been started in different countries across the world. Out of that 32 vaccines are on trial, 8-10 vaccines of USA, UK, India, Russia, China are being used in the world and among them USA, UK and Indian vaccines are more effective.

The May 8 meeting also shone a spotlight on how the EU and India will support private investments in high-standard physical infrastructures across several sectors, even in other countries in Africa, Central Asia, and the Indo-Pacific region, as alternatives to those pushed forward by China's Belt and Road Initiative. In this context, Brussels and Delhi say they want to begin a new phase in their relationship, implementing the key points of the EU-India 2025 Roadmap, whose role was already emphasized last year during the 15th EU-India Summit.

All in all then, dynamics in the geopolitical arena are making Europe uncertain terrain for China. Beijing has clearly become its own enemy in Europe, and leaves the same door open to others when it refuses to address significant issues. This approach, in the long term, is only going to intensify friction between Beijing and Brussels. We hope especially India, will take advantage of the situation to push back against the sphere of influence that, over recent years, China has been expanding and to take a much more active role in the region, and beyond.

This effort will not be absent of obstacles, obviously. First of all, for the EU and India, it would be important to maintain a pragmatic approach to overcome divergent positions that in the past have slowed progress in their bilateral dialogue. Let's think, for example, about the problems that occurred in the framework of negotiations for the Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement in 2013. This time, however, conditions appear to be more favorable. The strategic partnership between the EU and India really would be successful for their good intentions. Bangladesh is a South Asian country. After achieving independence under the leadership of Bangabandhau in 1971, the situation in war-torn Bangladesh was horrible. Bangladesh had to struggle a lot, after that gradually by developing in all sectors , Bangladesh has established itself as an important country by the capable leadership of PM Sheikh Hasina.

We know the purpose of Quad is to support a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, by following the spirit of G-7 and EU. So naturally, China is considering the Quad as a threat to it. Now an important matter is that in such a situation, as an important country in South Asian geopolitics Bangladesh would play an important role.

Almost all the countries of the Quad alliance are also working as important partners in the economic and infrastructural development of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is working with biggest democratic country India in all dimensions which is the most important member of the Quad.

The US is the most powerful member of the Quad. Bangladesh has always maintained good relations with the US, which is the strongest democratic force in the world. The US is Bangladesh's largest export market, especially for RMG sector. Besides, Bangladesh receives the highest amount of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) from the US.

Another member of the Quad is Japan. Bangladesh has excellent relations with Japan from the very beginning. Through JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), Japan provides huge economic assistance to Bangladesh. The country helps in the development of various fields like power, transportation, urban development, private sector etc. Japan has invested in many mega projects in Bangladesh.

Being a wealthy democratic country Australia is in co operation with Bangladesh in different field. We also know, EU is the important RMG export market of Bangladesh,  Middle east is the main source of remittance earnings of our country. These regions are close to western countries and India.

From the above description, it is clear that G-7, EU and QUAD are closely related. South Asia, south east Asia, Central Asia, middle east, Africa are interacting with them for peace, security and development. Recently in Palestine- Israel conflict US ally Egypt proposed cease fire and both the sides accepted it. Being a powerful democratic country of the world India is getting closer with other democratic forces for peace, security, democracy and development.

The writer is an academic, former ambassador, leader-student action committee 71 and freedom fighter.

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