At UN, Britain and France praise India’s democracy, Modi’s exhortation to Putin against war

Modi and Putin at one-on-one meeting that grabbed international attention because the Indian leader told the Russian leader this was not a time of war. Photo: Twitter @narendramodi

Britain’s newly-elected Prime Minister Liz Truss has said her country is deepening relations and growing security ties with fellow democracies like India to be able to “win this new era of strategic competition”.

Making her debut on the world stage on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, at the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly, she said, “The free world needs this economic strength and resilience to push back against authoritarian aggression and win this new era of strategic competition”.

For this, she said, “We are deepening our links with fellow democracies like India, Israel, Indonesia and South Africa”.

And “we are building new security ties with our friends in the Indo-Pacific and the Gulf”, she said.

She brought the stark message of a confrontation between democracy and autocracy over the future of the world.

“There is a real struggle going on between different forms of society – between democracies and autocracies”, she said.

“But we cannot simply assume there will be a democratic future”, she cautioned. “Unless democratic societies deliver on the economy and security our citizens expect, we will fall behind”.

For this, she said democracies like hers have to build their economies and not “be strategically dependent on those who seek to weaponize the global economy” – a reference to Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine and its fallout have hit many countries hard.

To be economically and strategically resilient, democracies must band together, she said.

And alluding to the predatory nature of China’s economic programs abroad, Truss said, “Rather than exerting influence through debt, aggression, and taking control of critical infrastructure and minerals, we are building strategic ties based on mutual benefit and trust”.

Earlier on Wednesday, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met with Britain’s new Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. Jaishankar tweeted after their meeting, “Discussed taking forward Roadmap 2030. Appreciate his commitment to deepening our partnership. Our conversation also covered global issues including Indo-Pacific, Ukraine and UNSC matters”.

India and Britain committed last year to Roadmap 2030, a broad plan for cooperation that encompasses strategic affairs, trade, Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific security, climate change and health.

In a sign of India’s growing strategic importance on the world stage, France’s President Emmanuel Macron had called for healing the North-South rift and building a global coalition to act on problems facing the world. while quoting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

He said on Tuesday at the high-level meeting of the General Assembly, “Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. was right when he said the time is not for war, it is not for revenge against the West or for opposing the West against the East. It is the time, for a collective time, for our sovereign equal states to come together with challenges we face”.

“This is why there’s an urgent need to develop a new contract between the North and the South, (an) effective contract, which is respectful of the (global needs) for food, for biodiversity, for education”, Macron said calling for cooperation between the developed countries of the North and the developing nations of the South.

“It’s no longer time”’ he said, “for block thinking but to build a coalition of specific action to reconcile legitimate interests and common goods”.

Modi’s exhortation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the Ukraine war, saying the “time is not for war”, has been widely welcomed, including by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other world leaders at the UN.

(By special arrangement with South Asia Monitor where this article appeared Sept. 22, 2022)



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