Global South leaders hail India’s contribution; seek its larger role in resolving crises affecting them

Bhutan’s Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji said that India providing Covid vaccines to about 100 countries “was one of the biggest humanitarian initiatives”. 

Arul Louis Sep 24, 2023
Hari Menon of the Melinda Bill Gates Foundation, from left, Shombi Sharp, the UNDP administrator in India, and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at the India-UN for Global South event on the sidelines of the United Nations High-Level General Assembly session on Saturday, September 23, 2023. (Photo Source: UN)

United Nations General Assembly President Dennis Francis and a parade of Global South leaders have hailed India’s contributions to fellow developing nations and being their voice to the G20 summit.

“From bolstering digital public infrastructure and innovative capacity-building, to strengthening the existing supply chains and addressing the debt crisis – India is setting an example for many UN Member States from the Global South”, Francis said on Saturday at the India-UN for Global South event on the sidelines of the United Nations High-Level General Assembly session.

India successfully landing the Chandrayaan on the South Pole of the moon was an inspiration for all countries on what they can achieve when they have access to science.

India's pioneering endeavours benefit the entire South, he added.

“India’s recent G20 Presidency marked a historic milestone, being the first to usher the African Union into the group as a permanent member – a strong symbol of solidarity and cooperation across the Global South”, he said. 

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India’s presidency of the G20 “was challenging because we were confronting a very sharp east-west polarisation as well as a very deep north-south divide”.

But India was “very determined” to get the growth of the Global South into the core agenda of the G20.

“The New Delhi summit of the G 20 has, in many ways laid the foundation for the international community, really, to look at its development prospects, hopefully with greater optimism certainly in our expectation with more resources”, he said.

“Today, geopolitical calculations and geopolitical contests are impacting very basic requirements of many countries, including the affordable access to food, to fertilizers, and to energy”, he said.

Facing this situation, India pushed the G20 to agree on the reform of international financial institutions and a green development bank.

Jaishankar said, “When it does come to South-South, cooperation, we have endeavoured to walk the talk” and was working on development projects in about 80 countries around the world.

Hari Menon of the Melinda Bill Gates Foundation and Shombi Sharp, the UNDP administrator in India, signed a letter of intent for cooperation in developing projects alongside India.

Two areas of India’s South cooperation were prominent in the testimonials of the leaders: Sharing and developing digital technologies, and the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.

Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa spoke of the Samoan Knowledge Project for “building inclusive knowledge societies”.

Bhutan’s Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji said that India providing Covid vaccines to about 100 countries “was one of the biggest humanitarian initiatives”. 

“The enduring partnership between Bhutan and India serves as a remarkable example of strong bilateral relations in the global south are rooted in shared values and historical ties”, he said.

Mauritius Foreign Minister Maneesh Gobin said that India’s economy took off after the 1993 reforms, but having achieved a breakthrough, it did not say, “bye, bye” to the countries of the South and leave them back, instead it is sharing its resources and expertise to bring them along.

The Metro Express Project in Mauritius that India worked on “has transformed the landscape of transportation and it serves as an exemplary model of meaningful South-South cooperation”.

Dominica Foreign Minister Vince Henderson appealed to India to help Haiti, a Caribbean neighbour that has descended into chaos.

He suggested that India send personnel to the international force led by Kenya and help Haiti get back on its feet.

Henderson said that India is emerging as an important player on the world stage and should get a permanent seat on the Security Council.

Hugh Hilton Todd, the foreign minister of Guyana, said that India now has a seat at the table of international decision-making and it “is taking us on board”.

It is saying to the world that India has been through challenges and now “we want to take on the burden, we have got to take all that responsibility of investing in humans”, he said.

St Lucia Foreign Minister Alva Romanus Baptiste said, “India is taking its place in a multipolar world. India is rising”.

He said that India was a bridge across the East-West and North-South divides.

Maldives Foreign Minister Ahmed Khaleel said that a significant contribution to his tourist-dependent country’s fast recovery from the Covid pandemic was from India and its supply of vaccines. 


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