Global Governance and the Need for ‘Pragmatic Activism’ in India’s Multilateralism

Arpita Anant is Associate Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • September 2015

    While global governance is all about creating an international order that addresses the interests of the big and small nations and people, non-government and corporate entities, the foreign policy of a state, including its multilateralism, aims at achieving its national interest. Tension between the two therefore is only natural. Often this is depicted as a hiatus between the greater good associated with idealism and self-interest associated with pragmatism. This article argues that the resonance between issues in global governance and issues and postures in India’s multilateralism in the UN suggests that its multilateralism is not completely at odds with the egalitarian aims of global governance. In fact, there are quite a few complementarities and these derive from the fact that although there has been a move towards pragmatism, the shift from idealism has not been complete. However, the complexity of global governance presents some challenges and opportunities for meaningful multilateralism today. Given the complementarities, challenges and opportunities, there is substantial scope for ‘pragmatic activism’ in India’s multilateralism.