With geoeconomics replacing geopolitics in a multi-polar world, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said it was now becoming difficult to unite developing countries on trade-related issues in forums such as the World Trade Organization due to divergence of interests.
“They (developing and poor countries) may be with you on one or two issues. But, in a multi-polar world, it’s very difficult to consolidate to have an ideological position,” Sitharaman said releasing the book “India and the World: Essays on Geoeconomics and Foreign Policy” written by Sanjaya Baru, senior journalist and former media advisor to ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The book explores India’s evolving geoeconomic relations with the West and with Asia, particularly China, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008-09.
The minister said that even though discussions are happening over the past 2-3 years, there has been no concrete agreement in global trade. “It’s very trying time for global economy, particularly trade related matters,” she said. In 2015-16, India became the world’s fastest growing large economy, overtaking China. India’s resurgence has renewed global interest in the geopolitical implications of India’s economic rise.
“India’s biggest challenge is how to manage this multipolar world,” Baru said at the event.
These essays analyse the influence of business and trade on foreign policy, India’s approach to multilateralism and the relevance of regional trade integration for the Indian economy and South Asia.
These were written after Baru served a term in the Prime Minister’s Office as a key advisor to Singh during India’s negotiation of a civil nuclear energy agreement with the US.
Last year, India had expressed disappointment over the lack of a unanimity in re-affirming to conclude the 2001 Doha Development Agenda at the Nairobi ministerial of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), although it managed to secure commitments to allow developing nations to use a special safeguard mechanism (SSM) to protect their farmers from a spurt in imports and for a work plan on a permanent solution to the issue of food security.
However, developed nations refrained from making any commitment to trim massive trade-distorting farm subsidies offered by them, despite hectic negotiations that went beyond the scheduled closing of the ministerial. (with FE inputs)