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Challenged by China, will India and Japan join forces to bail out Global South during Kishida visit?

A file photo of PM Narendra Modi with the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (Image courtesy: PIB)

Japan has lauded India’s efforts of utilising its ongoing G20 Presidency to give resonance to the voice of the ‘Global South’ at a time when the world continues to face a major crisis.

Ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to New Delhi next week, Tokyo asserted on Tuesday that it attaches “great importance” to cooperation with India, especially when it comes to supporting India’s efforts to raise the concerns of Global South.

“In addition, as the G7 Presidency, Japan attaches great importance to strengthening relations with the countries of the so-called Global South. From this perspective as well, I believe that it is even more important to collaborate with India, which is demonstrating leadership by hosting the Global South Summit in January this year,” Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters during a ministry presser today.

A detailed discussion on developing countries centered on the Southern Hemisphere was also held when Hayashi held an hour-long working lunch meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the sidelines of the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in the Indian capital earlier this month.

Hayashi’s comments are significant as China appears set to launch a new initiative ‘Global Development Initiative (GDI).

Chinese President Xi Jinping first introduced the GDI while laying out four paths to “answer the questions of our times” during his virtual address to the UN General Assembly in September last year.

GDI, said XI, was a way to support economic and social development around the world in response to setbacks caused by Covid-19. The Chinese leader emphasised the need to foster global development partnerships that are “more equal and balanced, forge greater synergy among multilateral development cooperation processes”, and speed up the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“We should care about the special needs of developing countries. We may employ such means as debt suspension and development aid to help developing countries, particularly vulnerable ones facing exceptional difficulties, with emphasis on addressing unbalanced and inadequate development among and within countries,” he said.

As the current G7 and G20 presidency countries, India and Japan have vowed to work closely on the matter with the Japanese Foreign Minister promising deeper discussions during Kishida’s March 19-21 visit to India.

As it began its G20 Presidency in January, India has led efforts to redesign global political and financial governance maintaining that the people of the Global South should no longer be excluded from the fruits of development.

Global South

India’s G20 Presidency theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ is in line with its civilizational ethos which believes that the path to realizing ‘oneness’ is through human-centric development.

New Delhi also believes that while most of the global challenges have not been created by the Global South, it affects them the most as has been seen during the Covid pandemic, climate change, terrorism and even the Ukraine conflict.

Held on January 12, the Voice of Global South Summit aimed at achieving ‘Unity of Voice, Unity of Purpose’ which aligned with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to shape a positive G20 agenda through consultation with G20 countries and members of the Global South.

“We, the Global South, have the largest stakes in the future. Three fourths of humanity lives in our countries. We should also have equivalent voice. Hence, as the eight-decade old model of global governance slowly changes, we should try to shape the emerging order,” said PM Modi in his opening remarks at the summit.

India, having always stood for a greater role of developing countries in determining the common future, insists that its development partnerships cover all geographies and diverse sectors which was seen during the Covid-19 pandemic when New Delhi supplied medicines and vaccines to over 100 countries.

Also Read: After Australia, another Quad partner Japan gears up for big partnerships with India