External affairs minister S Jaishankar has said that Covid-19 has taught the world that real globalisation needs to be defined in terms of pandemics, climate change and terrorism, and India over the last few years has taken a lead with its efforts in all these spheres.
Writing for the Newsweek, the union minister that these three issues must constitute the core of diplomatic deliberations, and overlooking such challenges, particularly those presented by Covid-19, can come at a huge cost.
The minister said that India has managed to fashion a robust response to the Covid-19 challenge and has set an example in its own right. “That it has done by defying prophets of doom and creating the health wherewithal to minimize its fatality rate and maximize its recovery rate. An international comparison of these numbers tells its own story,” he wrote.
He also pointed out that India’s vaccine diplomacy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has assured that vaccines will be accessible and affordable for the world. The first consignments of Made in India vaccines have reached not neighbours like Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka and partners like Brazil and Morocco.
“Not just that, India also stepped forward as the pharmacy of the world, supplying medicines to more than 150 countries, many as grants,” he wrote.
Jaishankar said that India’s role in other key global challenges today also deserves similar attention, highlighting how it was a central participant in reaching the Paris agreement, and has not only met but also exceeded targets.
“Its renewable energy targets have multiplied, its forest cover has grown, its bio-diversity has expanded and its focus on water utilization has increased,” he said, adding that Indian diplomacy is leading the way, including through the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure initiatives.
He further said that India has been active in enhancing global awareness and encouraging coordinated action to counter the challenge of terrorism and radicalization. “It will be a major focus in India’s diplomacy as a non-permanent member of the Security Council and in forums like FATF and G20.”
While highlighting India’s role in addressing global challenges, the foreign minister also pointed out some shortcomings in how globalisation has caused interdependence and interpenetration in this era.
“Until now, nations thought (of globalisation) largely in military, intelligence, economic, and perhaps, cultural terms. Today, they will not only assign greater weight to health security but increasingly worry about trusted and resilient supply chains. The stresses of the Covid-19 era brought out the fragility of our current situation. Additional engines of growth are needed to de-risk the global economy, as indeed is more transparency and market-viability,” he added.
Alluding towards the role of the WHO, he also said that multilateral institutions have not come out well from this experience. “Quite apart from controversies surrounding them, there was not even a pretence of a collective response to the most serious global crisis since 1945. This is cause for serious introspection. Reforming multilateralism is essential to creating effective solutions,” he wrote.