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PM Modi Joins G-7 Summit in Italy Amid Rising US-Russia Tensions and Focus on Global South Collaboration

PM Modi Joins G-7 Summit: Amid heightened US-Russia tensions due to a Russian nuclear submarine docking just 90 miles south of Florida in Cuba, the G-7 leaders have convened in Italy for their 50th annual summit

Italy, hosting this summit under its presidency, seeks to emphasize that these geopolitical struggles should not be framed as a simple ‘West versus the rest’ narrative.

Symbolism of Apulia

Italy chose to host the summit in Apulia, a southern region known historically as a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures. This symbolic choice aims to send a message to countries in the Global South, signaling the G-7’s readiness to collaborate on development, food security, energy security, and climate change. Italy invited 15 guest leaders, including six from G-20 nations and five from African countries, to deepen this collaboration.

Importance of African Nations

The African nations’ attendance is crucial to Italy’s strategy of addressing Europe’s energy supply issues by connecting Europe and Africa’s energy infrastructure through Italy.

Strategic G-20 Guests

The six G-20 invitees—India, Argentina, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey—hold significant strategic and security implications for the G-7. Apart from Argentina, with its substantial Italian-origin population, the other invitees are key players in the G-7’s strategic calculus. Turkey is the only NATO member in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in the Israel-Hamas conflict, and India, Brazil, and South Africa are vital representatives of the Global South and recent or upcoming G-20 presidents. These three nations, being democratic states within the BRICS grouping, hold deeper significance as they navigate relations with Russia and China.

Voice of the Global South

India has been a regular guest at G-7 summits since 2019, highlighting its importance in the G-7’s engagement with the Global South. The G-7 recognizes the necessity of including global south giants like India to enhance the effectiveness of sanctions against Russia and to establish a global governance framework bridging the West with the rest.

India’s prominent role in advocating for the Global South while supporting a rules-based order makes it a natural ally for an evolved G-7. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the Apulia Summit, his first foreign trip after re-election, underscores India’s commitment to its partnership with the G-7. India has shown policy alignment with the G-7, such as complying with the Oil Price Cap on Russian oil while balancing its domestic oil demands.

Potential Points of Friction

One significant issue is the G-7’s import ban on Russian-origin diamonds, impacting India’s diamond export industry. India’s participation at Apulia is expected to be crucial in reaching a common understanding and resolving this issue.

Security Concerns

The summit’s outcomes will likely be influenced by security concerns, especially following the US and NATO’s decision to allow Ukraine to use their weapons for limited military actions on Russian territory. The summit also comes after China’s show of strength around Taiwan, asserting its stance against Western influence. Another key topic will be finalizing the terms of a $50 billion loan to Ukraine, secured by frozen Russian assets.

Conclusion

While the G-7 confronts challenges posed by Russia and China, India’s participation at Apulia highlights its role as a partner democracy that shares common values with the G-7 but also advocates for its interests and those of the broader Global South.

Disclaimer: These views are the personal opinions of the author.

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