Modi’s trilateral meetings with two different groups at G20 Summit is a foreign policy success
Buenos Aires, Dec 1: The thirteenth edition of the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit that took off in Buenos Aires in Argentina was significant for India. It was here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in two trilateral meetings featuring sets of nations that are not known to be friends on the international stage. India was the only common member in the two meetings.
While the first meeting saw Modi teaming up with US President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (a meeting that the Indian prime minister coined 'JAI' after Japan, US and India), the second meeting saw him assembling with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (RIC a part of BRICS).
India, the only common nation in two meetings
It is important to notice here that India was the only common country in the two trilateral talks. Modi was part of discussions on relevant issues on both platforms, even though they were not in compliance with those spoken over in the other group and here lies a victory of India's foreign policy which has been historically non-aligned.
Modi built on Nehru's non-alignment to make India's stand more contemporary
Modi and his BJP, for once, should thank India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for making this uniqueness in India's position a reality. In a multipolar world where nations are becoming increasingly stubborn towards each other, facilitated by the Great Retreat by the US, India is one of the few nations that still has good relations with all parties across all barriers. The foundation which enables India to take a unique stand on its external affairs is its historic non-alignment. Since India had once followed a policy of remaining away from big power politics, it has become easier for her to maintain a rapport with all powers in today's sharply polarised world. Modi's contribution lies in the fact that he did not ignore this advantage and built on it during his tenure in office.
India shares democratic ideals with US and Japan
At the 'JAI' summit, Modi spoke with Trump and Abe over issues pertaining to the global and multilateral with a special focus on the crucial Indo-Pacific region, where the Chinese have asserted their dominance time and again. Modi said: "India will continue to work together on shared values."
With Russia and China, India's interests are more strategic
In the next trilateral meeting, Modi aimed at addressing cooperation with Russia and China, two countries with which India has more strategic interests in common rather than political ideology. This was only the second trilateral meeting held between the three nations and that too after over a decade. It shows that despite its growing proximity with the US, India's relations with old ally Russia and frenemy China are far from over.
A big success of the Modi government so far has been its balancing of relationships in a world dominated by big power politics. Though there have been instances of low moments in India's terms with big powers, but the overall performance has been good and the results were seen when India welcomed former US president Barack Obama as its Republic Day guest or bought sophisticated military hardware from Russia or reached out to China to break the ice in Doklam. The transition from the policy of equal distance from opposing powers to the policy on equal friendship with them has been a big success of India's foreign policy.