At India’s Summit for Global South, Leaders Raise Strong Concerns Over Ongoing Conflict in West Asia

At the second Voice of the Global South summit, Prime Minister Modi referred to 'new challenges' from the geopolitical crisis that have caused thousands of deaths over the last one month.

New Delhi: The Israel-Hamas war was a common thread in the discussions at the second Voice of the Global South summit, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi referring to “new challenges” from the geopolitical crisis that have caused thousands of deaths over the last one month.

On Friday (November 17), India held the second virtual Voice of the Global South summit. The first summit was held in January this year. It was part of New Delhi’s positioning as a leader of the developing world ahead of the G-20 summit.

At the opening session for leaders, Modi noted that “we are all seeing that new challenges are emerging from events in the West Asia region”.

He reiterated that India had “condemned the heinous terrorist attack in Israel on October 7”. The Indian leader then noted that New Delhi has also called for restraint as well as dialogue and diplomacy.

“We strongly condemn the deaths of civilians in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. After talking to President Mahmoud Abbas, we have also sent humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine. It is time that the countries of the Global South speak with one voice for the greater global good,” he said.

More than 12,000 civilians have been killed in Gaza in Israel’s counter-strikes, following Hamas attack that left over 1,400 Israelis dead.

Incidentally, most of the global south had spoken rather unanimously at the United Nations General Assembly when it passed a resolution on October 27, calling for humanitarian pauses in Israel’s military operations against Hamas in Gaza. Among the global south, the only major outliers had been India and the Philippines who had abstained, while most of Asia, Africa, and Latin Africa voted yes on the resolution tabled by Jordan and the Arab League.

Later, Indian foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra told reporters that all the leaders expressed “strong concern” at the deteriorating situation in West Asia.

“Many leaders spoke, almost all the leaders, spoke about the challenges of terrorism, the need to provide humanitarian assistance, horror at the civilian casualties due to the conflict. These three were the threads that were sort of common to all the interventions,” he said at a late night media briefing.

The senior Indian diplomat also said that there had been discussion on the need to have access to sustainable credit, which did not add to the debt burden of most countries. When asked if the topic was an indictment of China’s policy, Kwatra said that no names were taken, but that there was acknowledgement on what kind of funding was not healthy.

“And everybody’s intervention essentially spoke of the need that when they access this financing for their development projects for climate crisis or for energy transitions, it should be in a manner and of a kind that does not impose a debt burden on the structural parameters of the economy. It should be more sustainable,” he added

During the session for foreign ministers, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar said that there continued to be “a resistance for a greater role for the global south in shaping solutions for the key issues of our times”.

He also mentioned that the lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic was the “the perils of dependence for basic necessities on far away geographies abilities vis-à-vis economic concentrations”. “We need to not only democratise and diversify production, but build resilient and reliable supply chains and promote local solutions. Only then can the global south secure its future,” noted Jaishankar.