The View From India | The importance of Modi’s Indo-Pacific Tour

Understand international affairs from the Indian perspective with View from India

Updated - May 24, 2023 10:12 am IST

Published - May 22, 2023 01:38 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with other leaders visits the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, in Hiroshima on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with other leaders visits the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, in Hiroshima on Sunday. | Photo Credit: ANI

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Speaking in Hiroshima on the first leg of a three-nation Indo-Pacific tour to Japan, Papua New Guinea and Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a call for countries to “respect the U.N. Charter, international law and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries” – remarks that held significance both to Russia, the country on top of the agenda for the G-7 countries that met in Hiroshima, and to China, the country on top of most Indo-Pacific minds.

Amid China’s military expansion in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, Prime Minister Modi said India was committed to protecting its sovereignty and integrity while promoting peaceful resolution of maritime disputes based on international law, in comments made during an interview with Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun

PM Modi with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

PM Modi with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky | Photo Credit: Twitter/@PMOIndia

The PM also met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit and expressed anguish at the devastation caused by the war and conveyed his personal desire to end the hostilities. This was their first in-person meeting since the start of Russia’s war.

A highlight of the trip was to be the Quad leaders’ summit set for this week in Australia. A shortened version was convened hastily in Hiroshima after U.S. President Joe Biden at the last minute decided to cut short his visit to the region to deal with the continuing debt default domestic political crisis in Washington – a decision that was criticised for the mixed signalling about U.S. commitments to the region. In addition to a joint statement that committed to strengthening ties, the four countries also outlined plans to work together on clean energy supply chains, cybersecurity and secure software, and critical and emerging technology standards. 

The G-7 summit, meanwhile, to which India was invited, saw leaders of the group, which includes Britain, the United States, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and the European Union, pledge to “starve Russia of G7 technology, industrial equipment and services that support its war machine.” 

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell | Photo Credit: AP

Also last week, India-Russia ties were in the crosshairs of the EU, with top foreign affairs and security official Josep Borrell saying it was “certainly a circumvention of sanctions” if Indian diesel and gasoline (petrol) entering Europe were made from Russian oil and that EU Member States “have to act”. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who met Borrell, said according to EU Council rules, “Russian crude, if substantially transformed in a third country, is not treated as Russian anymore.”

For an in-depth look at the PM’s Indo-Pacific tour, this week’s World View by Suhasini Haidar assessed the multiple dimensions of the visit, from the multilateral to the bilateral and the regional significance. You can read or watch her analysis here.

The Top Five

What we are reading this week – the best of The Hindu’s Opinion and Analysis

1. The multiple issues on the anvil at the G-7 and during Prime Minister Modi’s regional tour mandate a very careful balance between the two ends of an increasingly polarised world, writes Suhasini Haidar.

2. Stanly Johny on the ambitious 7,200-km-long North-South Transport Corridor that seeks to link Russia’s Baltic Sea coast to India’s western ports in the Arabian Sea through Azerbaijan and Iran. Despite many challenges, the Russians and the Iranians seem determined to go ahead as they see the corridor as a potential game changer in their plans for Eurasian economic integration.  

3. Meera Srinivasan on the reaction in Sri Lanka to Justin Trudeau’s remarks on ‘Tamil genocide day’ and how memorialisation remains a sensitive issue.

4. Rakesh Sood assesses India’s Space Policy and why it needs to be followed up with suitable legislation, backed by clear rules and regulations.

5. Talmiz Ahmad on the political situation in Israel and why the need to restore Benjamin Netanyahu’s authority and credibility after months of protests, is linked with the escalation of confrontations in the occupied territories.

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