Billy Joel said it best in his 1989 hit song —We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning, since the world's been turning.
The second edition of the Voice of Global South Summit held virtually is proof of the validity of his lyrics. Since January, the world has shifted. From the polarised world of the Ukraine, the crisis has now shifted to West Asia.
“We are seeing that new challenges are emerging from developments in West Asia,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his opening remarks of the summit.
This is a stand, unlike in the case of Ukraine—where India’s position was echoed with the rest of the Global South. India has chosen to take a more nuanced position—given the deep ties with Israel and the tough stand on terrorism. India abstained from the UN vote calling for a ceasefire on October 26, while most of the countries attending voted for.
“We all are seeing that new challenges are emerging from the events in the West Asia region. India has condemned the terrorist attack in Israel on October 7. We have exercised restraint as well. We have given emphasis on dialogue and diplomacy. We also strongly condemn the deaths of civilians in the conflict between Israel and Hamas,” said Modi. He also talked about sending humanitarian aid for Gaza. India has been walking the tightrope on this evolving situation.
And like Ukraine, the situation in West Asia again demonstrates the difference that exists between the West and the Global South. "The Voice of Global South is the most unique platform reflecting the changing world of the 21st century," Modi said.
The PM also called for cooperation under the framework of 'five Cs' -- consultation, communication, cooperation, creativity, capacity building.
India wants to build on this framework of collaboration. Whether it is climate change finance, a big win that India secured during the G20, to the framework for Digital Public Infrastructure, again a space that India has got an edge.
The inauguration of DAKSHIN--a Global Centre of Excellence--is the effort to make India a bridge. One of the areas that India hopes to build consensus on is Artificial Intelligence. "India believes that new technology should not widen the gap between the Global North and the Global South. During the times of AI, it is important that technology should be used responsibly,’’ he said. And in bid to take the lead, India will hold a summit on AI in December.