Our world needs inclusivity, not divisions. World needs politicians who work diligently for holistic wellness and progress of humans. World needs visionary leaders who strive for upholding the intrinsic human dignity and take all practical measures for sustaining the human race and our environment. World does NOT need divisive, megalomaniacs who trick the gullible masses. World does not need wolves in sheep’s clothing. World does not need emotional regression. World needs healing, not wounding.
G20, G7, BRICS, QUAD … the list goes on. Should (or does) a common person ought to know about these acronyms, or what they aim to achieve? A simple answer is ‘no’. Therefore, does it really matter to a common person that leaders of Russia and China did not attend the recent G20 meet in New Delhi? No, of course not, as the common person has numerous, much more pressing matters to deal with, including survival. Was it, therefore, worth the time and taxpayer’s money? Perhaps, not!
Has the recent G20 summit in Delhi made the world any safer, peaceful or sustainable? Perhaps, NOT? The success of the current G20 summit must be gauged purely on merit and if it really addressed the existential issues that humans face: (a) Climate Change crises; and (b) possibility of a nuclear Russia-Ukraine war.
Have the world leaders (and / or their representatives, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Premier Li Qiang) been able to strike a workable agreement in good faith and an executable plan to sort out the Carbon Emissions issue, and an immediate truce between Russia and Ukraine, as well as de-escalation of tempers around the world, especially in the South China Sea. If not, this summit will go into the record books as another poor taxpayer-funded holiday, which President Xi could not afford due to his direct involvement in running his country.
President Xi is not a figure head or a megalomaniac, he is known to have a hands-on involvement in running his country and may not have felt that the G20 summit was worth his time. Perhaps, he has no need to promote himself for domestic politics or election purposes. Perhaps, also, he did not want President Putin to be the only one who was absent! Strangely, however, the world got distracted by his absence and started speculating on the health of the India-China relationship. Even a child can say that, based on (a) a growing trade between the two Asian giants, with disproportionate surplus in favour of China; and (b) China’s new map showing vast geographical areas of India within its territory, without attracting any meaningful expression of anger or protest from India, the India-China relationship is robust.
India does not want to annoy China on any front or in any forum. A much weaker Pakistan (despite being nuclear and closely aligned with China and North Korea) is sufficient for India’s domestic politics.
A few months ago, India’s Foreign Minister had conceded publicly that India being a much smaller economy could not afford to annoy China, which naturally gave China a free rope to deal with its neighbour. President’s Xi’s absence from the G20 summit could, therefore, be deliberate, for both (Indian and Chinese) domestic politics and geopolitical consumptions (e.g., QUAD), to mask the close ties on the ground between the two countries. Didn’t he and Prime Minister Modi meet in secret a few months ago, with their meeting remaining a secret till a Chinese newspaper, Global Times, broke the news a few weeks ago, which an embarrassed Indian government could not deny. Why was the meeting kept a secret and why was it disclosed before the G20 summit?
Interestingly, barely a few days after the recent BRICS meet in Johannesburg, China’s issued a new map, on 28 August 2023, that shows a large part of Jammu & Kashmir, and the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh within its territory. Will the new China’s map impact the future of the BRICS or the robust India-China relationship? Perhaps, not!
India’s stance on its own territorial sovereignty via-a-vis China has a bearing on its image in the QUAD group, of which India is a member, and its expected role in the South China Sea. This will also test the ‘interest-based’ geopolitical relationships in vogue these days against traditional ‘principles-based’ geopolitical relationships. That is, is geographical sovereignty being consciously compromised for economic interests? Capitalism!
Paradoxically, on the one hand, the member countries of these so-called economic and geo-strategic groups spend billions of dollars on the manufacture and trade of defence equipment, a sum that would otherwise be used for improving the lives of common people in both developing and so-called developed countries — on the health, poverty, environment, unemployment, cost of living and education of common masses — and, on the other hand, their leaders meet, greet and eat delightfully with one another at such gala events funded by poor taxpayers of the host countries. Audacious!
Interestingly, despite defence expenditures in several G7, G20, QUAD and BRICS member countries being mainly China-centric, China continues to be their largest trading partner, otherwise, how do we explain India’s seemingly contradicting position in both the QUAD and the BRICS? Who is fooling whom?
Therefore, other than the usual blah, blah, blah and use of a convoluted grandmotherly language, can anyone explain in simple terms (not on 37 pages) what did the G20 summit in Delhi actual achieve for the world?
Can the participating members explain to primary school students in their respective countries how their future and the future of their country has been protected by the recent G20 summit? Can they look the children in the eye and tell them how they have been saved and their future secured, and if the Climate Change crises has been effectively dealt with? Can they look the hardworking taxpayers in the eye and justify the use of their tax in staging the summit?
Returning to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, shouldn’t the leaders of the warring countries, and their supporting nations, conduct referenda in their respective countries to see if their peoples also support the war and are prepared to face the consequences? Is it a war of egos of a few powerful individuals or a war designed to change the world order? Are we aware about the consequences if the war is not stopped, and stopped now? Are we prepared to accept the new world order or a total defeat of one of the two warring countries? Can we deal with the consequences and the potential world instability when one of them loses? Do we really know what we are doing?
World War II was brought to an abrupt end when not one, but two atom bombs were used. That may possibly be also how the next world war starts. Does it really matter who uses them first or how many are used? Only a few can obliterate us.
We may have lost another opportunity, an opportunity to justify the cost of a poor taxpayer-funded global summit, an opportunity to save the human race! Was it all just for getting a bite on the shrinking piece of cake, or personal fame? Will our future settlements on the Moon or on Mars solve our human issues on Earth? Ask any child!
To conclude this piece on a lighter note, will BRICS be renamed as ‘BRBCS’ (or ‘CRBBS’), following a name change of the country being actively promoted by the Indian government? Will the new country, Bharat, emerge with a new constitution? Will the name change trigger a long list of name changes, such as Bharati Ocean, Bharat-Pacific, BSRO, BCCB, Bharat Gate (in Delhi) and Gateway to Bharat (in Mumbai)? Can India afford hundreds of billions of dollars required to complete the change? What next? New currency notes? A new constitution?
After the conclusion of the G20 summit, which many people call the Modi-20 summit, as thousands of his large posters decorated the street and roads of Delhi, the world is closely watching India, which calls itself the ‘mother’ of democracy!
In its commitment to fast obliterate the legacies of the British Raj, will Bharat impose a blanket ban on the usage of the English language — in radio and television news, print media, school textbooks, English literature, medicine, engineering, drugs and pharmacy, traffic rules and road signs, dress code, science and technology?
World has never been a dull place but now it is getting much more comical and spicier. We need a regular dose of intriguing distractions to keep our stressed minds regularly entertained and engaged away from the daily drudgery of life.
© Bill K Koul [10 September 2023, Perth, Western Australia]
Copyright © Bill K Koul