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SOUTH ASIA WEEK: "India's Increasing Role in Multilateral Relations and Its Global Interests"

May 09, 2016

On April 28, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, examined India’s evolving role in multilateral institutions in a public speech that concluded the Future of Diplomacy Project’s annual 2016 South Asia Week titled “India’s Increasing Role in Multilateral Relations and its Global Interests.” Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and the India and South Asia Program, Cathryn Clüver, moderated the event at the Center for Government and International Studies.

Embracing Multilateralism:

Ambassador Akbaruddin stressed India’s identity as a nation that has traditionally and to this day embraced multilateralism. Indian diplomacy is deeply multilateral in its makeup…[we are] open to membership to virtually every organization. “That’s our natural inclination; that’s our natural drift,” stated the Ambassador.

Challenges of Globalization:

Speaking on issues of legitimacy and representation within the United Nations, Ambassador Akbaruddin maintained that institutions like the UN Security Council are out of touch with the reality of “what threatens global peace and security.” Ambassador Akbaryddin described India as a “change-power in multilateral teams; a power that is not satisfied with the status quo” and seeks “evolution” and “improvement” of the existing diplomatic international structures. “What we seek is reform, not revolution,” the Ambassador reflected. Nonetheless, the Ambassador emphasized positive trends occurring globally with the increase of plurilateral fora designed to accommodate new countries and respond to global issues in a more cross-sectional and cross-regional way. In particular, the Ambassador referenced the way in which the G-8 expanded to transform itself into the G-20 after the global financial crisis in 2008.

India’s Engagement Strategy:

The Ambassador described three essential levels of engagement in India’s foreign policy strategy: 1) emphasis on India’s periphery; 2) G20 countries; 3) and the protection of new global public goods such as internet governance, trade, and freedom of the high seas. He underscored that the “new aspirational India” that is developing finds itself ready to engage multilaterally with a large number of countries in different regions of the world. Ambassador Akbaruddin concluded that this new India is no longer satisfied by being a “rule-taker” and is functioning instead as a “rule-shaper” with the hopes of becoming a future “rule-maker.”

For more information on this publication: Please contact Future of Diplomacy Project
For Academic Citation:SOUTH ASIA WEEK: "India's Increasing Role in Multilateral Relations and Its Global Interests".” News, , May 9, 2016.