India to intensify engagement with Latin America and Africa

Published on Aug 30, 2022 09:20 AM IST

During External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay last week, it was evident that these countries appreciate the Indian stand on Ukraine and Indo-Pacific under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

File photo of PM Narendra Modi with S Jaishankar and his wife.
File photo of PM Narendra Modi with S Jaishankar and his wife.

After External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s successful visit to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay last week, the Narendra Modi government is going to intensify engagement with Latin America as these countries want to deepen bilateral cooperation with India. Jaishankar become the first Indian foreign minister to visit Latin America in nine years after UPA’s Salman Khurshid visited some of these countries way back in 2013.

It is learnt that EAM Jaishankar was given a red-carpet treatment by his Brazilian, Argentinian, and Paraguayan counterparts with head of state of all three countries taking out time to meet the Indian Foreign Minister. The leadership of the three countries was appreciative of India’s stance on Ukraine, Indo-Pacific, and the way the Indian Army is standing up to the PLA in East Ladakh. These countries were particularly appreciative of PM Modi’s strong leadership in context of strategic autonomy and India’s global vaccine support when the coronavirus was ravaging the world with deaths all around.

The success of EAM Jaishankar’s visit reflected the rising clout of India as it assumes the Presidency of the G-20 later this year while remaining a member of the UNSC till end of January 2023. One must remember that when Minister Khurshid went to Latin America in 2013, India was a smaller economy than Brazil and its position shaky within the BRICS grouping. Today, India is on way to become the fifth largest economy in the world with the potential of becoming at least number three economy this decade.

The appreciation of India’s rising stature and PM Modi’s leadership was evident during EAM’s visit as Latin American leadership finds the Indian Prime Minister not afraid to take stands on strategic issues in national interest be it on Ukraine or on Indo-Pacific. It was during the visit that EAM Jaishankar made it very clear that the rood to bilateral normalcy with China goes through Ladakh with Beijing honoring the 1993 and 1996 bilateral agreements and restoring April 2020 status quo in East Ladakh sector. He made it amply clear that restoration of status quo ante in East Ladakh and tranquility on the LAC were the prime conditions for normalization of ties with China. It was during Jaishankar’s trip that the Indian embassy in Sri Lanka replied in kind to an uncouth outburst from Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka over India’s security concerns over berthing of Chinese satellite and missile tracker ship Yuan Wang 5 at Hambantota Port this month.

The inauguration of Indian embassy in Paraguay by the EAM and his recent visit to Kenya in June are clear signals that the Modi government will increase India’s diplomatic footprint and specially engage those countries who have been supportive of New Delhi over the years.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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