You are here

Report of Monday Morning Meeting “Takeaways from Prime Minister Modi’s Visits to Japan, Papua New Guinea, and Australia”

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • May 29, 2023
    Monday Morning Meeting

    Dr. Arnab Dasgupta, Research Analyst, Manohar Parrikar IDSA, spoke on “Takeaways from Prime Minister Modi’s Visits to Japan, Papua New Guinea, and Australia” at the Monday Morning Meeting held on 29 May 2023. The Session was moderated by Mr. Om Prakash Das, Research Fellow at MP-IDSA. Ambassador Sujan R Chinoy, Director General, MP-IDSA, Maj Gen. (Dr.) Bipin Bakshi (Retd.), Deputy Director General, MP-IDSA and scholars of the Institute were in attendance.

    Executive Summary

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi's high-power diplomacy at the G-7 summit is to understand the developed world's perspective on global security challenges and the challenges of the Global South to act as a viable interlocutor to address these concerns through India’s G20 Presidency. A key outcome of the Quad Leader Summit is moving beyond the security function to development concerns such as connectivity and space cooperation.  The Prime Minister’s visit to the strategically significant Pacific Island countries and Prime Minister’s announcement of a 12 Point Action Plan to address developmental challenges are of particular significance at the 3rd Forum for India- Pacific Island Cooperation Summit.

    Detailed Report

    Mr. Om Prakash Das, Moderator, introduced the topic. He spoke about the significance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the G7 Summit.  There were high expectations from the G7 Summit taking place amid the Russia -Ukraine War.  The Prime Minister's participation in the FIPIC Summit is noteworthy and in addressing the concerns of the Global South.  The Prime Minister’s visit to Australia is significant and diaspora plays an important role in strengthening India-Australia relations.

     Dr. Arnab Dasgupta outlined the structure of his presentation by posing key questions. What did Prime Minister Modi achieve with these visits? What are the key diplomatic takeaways, and do they serve India’s goals? What are the major steps needed to further foreign policy objectives?

     Dr Dasgupta discussed the significance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Japan at the invitation of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in the G7 Hiroshima Summit.  The Prime Minister engaged G7 leaders bilaterally and multilaterally. Prime Minister Modi addressed Session 6, where he highlighted the multiple crises confronting the global community as the COVID 19 and Ukraine crises aggravated global food shortages, global health challenges arising from climate change and sustainable development.

    Dr. Arnab Dasgupta highlighted the key takeaways of the G7 Summit. First, the inclusion of Global South in the G7 agenda and the call for the reform of the multilateral institutions. These institutions do not cater to the needs of the 21st Century. Dr. Dasgupta emphasised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the G7 Summit. The Prime Minister assured humanitarian aid to Ukraine and he stated that dialogue and diplomacy are the only way forward to resolve the conflicts.

     Dr. Dasgupta pointed out the key outcomes of the Quad Summit which was held on the sidelines of the Hiroshima Summit on May 20, 2023. The Quad Leaders’ Summit focused on stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. Quad Leaders major initiatives are: first, the agency and   the centrality of the ASEAN, Pacific Islands Forum, and IORA will be preserved. Second, clean energy supply chain will be created for clean economic transition; third, reorientation of Quad vaccine partnership to health security partnership in order to contain the future Pandemics. Fourth, Quad infrastructure fellowship has been announced to create 1800 professionals in infrastructure field. Fifth, Quad leaders emphasized connectivity protecting the undersea cable creating a partnership for cable connectivity and resilience Sixth, an Open Radio Network is to be established in Palau, Sixth, Quad investment in emerging technologies will be done through various initiatives such as Quad joint partnership in software development and the Space Working Group.

    Dr. Arnab   Dasgupta clarified about Quad expansion vs overreach debate. He cited the Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra as saying that the Quad Summit meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Japan and the canceling of the Summit in Australia did not undermine the Quad Summit as it does not have a formal institutional structure like NATO.  Quad exists as long as its members are willing to talk to each other as the Quad.

    Dr. Arnab Dasgupta talked about the FIPIC Summit that was held on 22 -23 May 2023 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea under the leadership of Prime Minister James Marape and Prime Minister Modi. India has deep roots in the region many of the Pacific Islands have special diaspora connections and ancestry traced back to the Indian subcontinent. Dr. Dasgupta mentioned that China's inroads into the Pacific Islands are a cause of concern.  India has good intentions, but China has the money. India’s intangible economic footprint is deeper in the region. India’s outreach is in response to the needs of Pacific Island countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 12 Point Action Plan for infrastructure development. India’s developmental expertise is indispensable in the areas of health, IT, solar and desalination projects, and small and medium enterprises infrastructure.

     Dr. Arnab Dasgupta analysed the last leg of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit which was to Australia. According to him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese transformed India-Australia bilateral relations. Key outcomes of the visit include a comprehensive economic partnership agreement, future cooperation in the mining of the minerals, the migration and mobility agreement, and agreeing to share expertise in green and clean energy transitions. The mutual security interests of Australia and India are to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific and to address the challenges posed by China. 

    Dr. Arnab Dasgupta concluded his presentation by identifying guideposts and significant inflection points with respect to foreign policy moves on Indo Pacific and the Global South, in particular Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming visit to the US to comprehend President Biden’s approach to Indo Pacific, and his visit to France in July to ensure the continuation of Indo – French cooperation in the Indo Pacific.  The Prime Minister's  engagement with the world leaders can be understood as exercises to generate goodwill, which in turn would enable the conduct of the G20 Summit in a smooth, cordial, and fruitful manner.

    Comments and Questions

    Mr. Om Prakash Das invited the Director General, Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy to give his comments.

    Ambassador Chinoy shared his experience as an Indian Foreign Service officer who served in all three areas- Japan, Marshall Islands, and Australia. Ambassador Chinoy stated that India’s primary focus is on the Indian Ocean region and geographical distance need not be a factor in greater interaction with Pacific Islands.

    Ambassador Chinoy expressed that there is ambiguity about whether China is to be considered part of Global South or not, and that whenever Chinese leader Xi Jinping speaks of leadership of developing countries there is a pushback from many developing countries on China’s ‘debt trap diplomacy’. Thus, India is not seeking ownership of Global South. India is the voice of the Global South.

     With regard to the Quad summit that was held on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Japan Ambassador Chinoy pointed out that it was a successful meeting. The contours of Quad have changed from 2017 to 2021. It has raised the expectations of the world. The primary focus of the Quad is preventing supply chain disruption in the Indo-Pacific and preventing economic and military threats to the region. Quad leaders are to work on infrastructure, connectivity, space, undersea cables and are not just looking at the elephant in the room. Quad is looking for creating a new environment for development.

     Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy highlighted that India’s presence in the Pacific Islands is not about matching Chinese capabilities. It is about serving India’s interests and keeping in mind the primary stakeholders, USA, China and Japan in the region. India’s presence is as a pro bono provider of public goods. Ambassador Chinoy shared his observations on India’s successful initiatives such as Information Technology Centers in Africa. Pacific Islands are difficult to visit and therefore, Singapore, which created a dedicated cadre of experts with the rank of Ambassadors who promoted Singapore’s vision abroad, is a worthy model to emulate in the Pacific Islands as well.

    Dr. Dasgupta agreed with the views expressed by Ambassador Chinoy.  He further added that area specialists and language experts need to be chosen while engaging with the Pacific Island countries.

     Mr. Das invited the Deputy Director General to make his comments. Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Bipin Bakshi highlighted the G7 Summit held in Hiroshima. According to him Prime Minister Modi's visit to the Cenotaph and Peace Memorial Park had particular symbolism attached, as the Japanese were the only people hit by nuclear weapons. He also pointed out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on reform of the UN  Security Council.  Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Bipin Bakshi said the Prime Minister’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reflects India’s emergence on the world stage as a mediator or peacemaker in resolving conflicts.  He emphasised that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's outreach was warranted as Pacific Island countries are very small but significant countries. He stated that the Quad CDS meeting was scheduled but was canceled due to technical reasons.

    Dr. Dasgupta responded that the nuclear memorial evokes a visceral understanding of nuclear conflict beyond a logical and intellectual understanding of nuclear security.

    Dr. Rajiv Nayan, Senior Research Associate, emphasised that the Pacific Island countries are recognising the cultural capital of India. Different schools of thought, concepts, and ideas on Vishvaguru need to be debated so that they can be better utilized as cultural capital in India’s diplomatic interaction with the rest of the world.

    Gp. Capt. Rajiv Kumar Narang VM, (Retd) highlighted the context of Quad investment in strategic technologies. Dr. Dasgupta responded that indigenisation of technology has limits. India's best possible option is the joint development of technology.

    Dr. Anand Kumar asked the speaker how Quad interactions create reactionary responses from China. How is it possible to reconcile dilemmas of security and economic engagement with China?

    Dr. Dasgupta answered by noting that the key dynamic is not to shut out China, but to figure out how cooperation can be managed.

     After the senior scholars, research analysts, and interns of the institute enriched the discussion with questions and comments, Mr. Om Prakash Das concluded the session. 

    Report prepared by Dr. Velpula  Ramanujam,  Research  Analyst, South East Asia  and  Oceania Centre, MP- IDSA.