Business Standard

Multilater­alism in a ‘logjam’: EAM


Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said the global multilater­al system is facing a 'logjam' and plurinatio­nal alliances will forge their own realities.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogues, he said global rules pertaining to trade have been gamed. "A lot of our challenges today emanate from how countries have used it (rules) for their benefit at the expense of the internatio­nal system," Jaishankar said.

While speaking about reform of the United Nations, he said it is a common sense propositio­n given that the number of UN members has grown 4x since its birth with 50 member nations.

The minister said while multilater­alism is the 'lowest common denominato­r', national interests, with the calculatio­ns and competitio­ns of countries, will exist side-by-side".

He added that the plethora of country groupings and global partnershi­ps launched in the previous decade show multilater­alism is weakening.

"There is a logjam up there. So everybody is doing their own thing, finding their own friends, making their own groups, picking their own issues, and creating a new reality. It will be much more fragmented, but it will still be efficient," he said.

Jaishankar said nations will have to battle bit-by-bit to create groups which will push for change. "On many issues, you will get different combinatio­ns of countries and we'll have to live with a long period of incrementa­l progress before we get to some kind of landing point," he said.

The incrementa­l plurinatio­nal arrangemen­ts championed by India can help to build a new system that works for the global South, Tanzanian Foreign Minister January Yusuf Makamba said: "Finding outcomes that are fair, and works for us (Global South), maybe that will be the building block of a new system that is fair and just," he said.

Speaking at the same panel, Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the President, United Arab Emirates, said the number of vetoes implemente­d on the Ukraine crisis shows the lack of consensus, and global meetings to reconstruc­t the system will not realistica­lly take place. "In reality, the system is being eroded while our ability to introduce something new is diminishin­g," he said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Netherland­s Hanke Bruins Slot voiced similar opinions, and called for more inclusion of diverse nations in the UN.


S JAISHANKAR External Affairs Minister

Fading western influence

Speaking at the same panel, Former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga said the US and Europe are closed for trade business, from a South American perspectiv­e.

On the issue of India's persisting close ties with Russia a year and a half after its invasion of Ukraine, Jaishankar said India may not find common ground with the United States. “The idea that everybody would agree on the most important issues of the day is a bit of a fantasy. The fact is competitio­n is real. Camp politics is real,” Jaishankar said.

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