India in the New World Order

March 13, 2018
1 year

What is the issue?

  • India and France co-hosted the first International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit in New Delhi recently.
  • This is a significant event in defining India's place in the new global order.

What is the International Solar Alliance?

  • The ISA was unveiled at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 by the Indian PM Modi and then French President Francois Hollande.
  • The idea is to form a coalition of solar resource-rich countries.
  • The aim is to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps in their energy requirements through a common approach.
  • Towards this, the ISA has set a target of 1 terawatt (TW) of solar energy by 2030.
  • The ISA is open to 121 prospective member countries, most of them located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
  • This is the region worldwide with a surplus of bright sunlight for most of the year.
  • So far, however, only 56 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement.

What is India's role?

  • India is a founding-member of the alliance.
  • Besides, it plays a significant role in terms of being a host as well as a major contributor to the achievement of the target.
  • The ISA is the first international body that will have a secretariat in India.
  • India, with a target to produce 100 GW of solar energy by 2022, would account for a tenth of ISA’s goal.
  • India will also provide 500 training slots for ISA member-countries and start a solar tech mission to lead R&D.

Why is India's proposal unique?

  • The basis for ISA is global equitable sustainable development.
  • It suggests a ‘third’ way to the inequality and environmental damage characterising the current U.S. and China-led models.
  • This vision follows from India’s call for ‘climate justice’.
  • Notably, India's approach to climate justice reframes climate change as a social and not a physical problem.
  • The shift fills the gap in the thrust of the ‘Chinese dream’ and ‘America first’ both of which ignore sustainable development.
  • India is thus considered as a balancing factor in this regard, especially by countries in the South-east Asian region.
  • This is also why China and the U.S. are seeking to work with India.

What is the way forward for India?

  • The inaugural International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit underlines India’s place in the new world order.
  • India has to take advantage of the transforming global trends.
  • The challenge at this juncture is to push infrastructure, e-commerce, human capital and technology development.
  • These are essential for India to position itself in the emerging global scenario, where economy, ecology and cyber space are defining the place.
  • In the new world order, India should give primacy to rules that will chart a path for its own sustainable prosperity.
  • This does not mean India should move away from multilateral groupings.
  • But rather, in 2018, India will have to make hard choices.
  • E.g. India should not reject collaboration in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is the framework for a new order.
  • But existing political and economic order suggest that India should work with China to jointly set the new multilateral rules.
  • The two sides, India and China, have just recognised sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspirations.
  • Also, as part of this dynamics, India must consider longer-term and not immediate interests in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
  • This approach should reflect in other areas like the BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, etc, for establishing non-hierarchical relations.
  • In terms of maritime trade routes, India should organise platforms which include China and Japan.
  • This is to allow for the development of Indian Ocean-centric rules of engagement.


Source: The Hindu

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