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India Would Be Well-Advised Not to ‘Fall in Trap of Joining the Western Camp’: Ex-PM Aide

© Photo : Twitter/ @narendramodiPM Modi arrives in Hiroshima for 2023 G7 Summit
PM Modi arrives in Hiroshima for 2023 G7 Summit - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.05.2023
India has been invited as a guest country at this year’s G7 Summit in Hiroshima. New Delhi had also been invited as a guest at the last year’s G7 Leaders’ meeting in Germany.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s participation as a guest country at this year’s G7 Leaders’ Summit in the Japanese city of Hiroshima definitely points towards New Delhi “growing geopolitical prominence” and “economic might” in the world, an Indian strategic affairs expert has told Sputnik.

“In the last two decades, G7’s global influence has been on the decline, be it in financial or strategic terms,” stated Sudheendra Kulkarni, an ex-advisor to former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Kulkarni also heads Forum for a New South Asia, an Indian think tank advocating for friendly ties between New Delhi and its neighbouring nations.
“The world is changing in a rapid way. The G7 needs India to bolster its geopolitical presence. In particular, the west wants India in its camp to counterbalance China,” he explained.

Kulkarni, however, added that New Delhi would be well-advised not to fall in the trap of joining the “western camp”.

President Joe Biden, third left, reacts with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, third right, at the start of a bilateral meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, Thursday, May 18, 2023, ahead of the start of the G-7 Summit. - Sputnik India, 1920, 18.05.2023
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He underscored that New Delhi should continue to follow an “independent foreign policy” which has served Indian national interest well for decades.

“As the G20 president and a major emerging economic power, India should also keep highlighting the concerns of the Global South,” he said.

Kulkarni remarked that New Delhi was in a “very favourable” position at the moment.
“Not only is it being courted by the G7, but it also a member of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO),” he stated.
Besides India, other countries invited to this year’s leaders’ meeting include Australia, Brazil, Comoros, Cook Islands, Indonesia (ASEAN Chair), South Korea and Vietnam.
According to G7, “outreach to the Global South” is one of the agenda items at this year’s meeting. The other issues slated to be discussed include the crisis in Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific situation, food and energy matters, climate change as well as economic resilience and recovery, per the G7 statement.

Growing Influence of BRICS, Other Non-Western Groupings

Kulkarni contrasted the waning global influence of G7 with the rising geopolitical prominence of groupings such as BRICS, the SCO, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League.

“These groups are becoming more influential,” he stated.

The BRICS nations this year overtook the G7 in terms of their combined GDPs. According to the British consultancy, the five BRICS nations now contribute nearly 31.5% of the global GDP, compared to 30.7% by G7 countries.
Referring to the China-brokered peace talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Kulkarni said that Beijing was able to do what the US couldn’t do for decades, which is bring about a semblance of normalcy between the two major powers.
Kulkarni also pointed out that the “re-induction of Syria” as a full member of the Arab League indicated towards waning influence of the US in regional affairs.
“The west is unhappy with Syria’s membership of the Arab League. But Saudi Arabia and other regional powers have largely ignored these reservations,” noted Kulkarni.