India’s aspiration to play a meaningful role in the global governance encounters two conspicuous roadblocks: the reluctance of the privileged Western states to reform the institutions of global governance created after the end of the World War II; and an alternative political and economic model of governance accompanying the rise of China.
The West has been exceedingly slow in initiating institutional reforms and making them more representative. It does recognize the value for reforms but has repeatedly procrastinated the process. As a consequence, these institutions are turning ineffective and their legitimacy has eroded over the years.
China, while paying lip-service to the rules and norms of global governance is selective in its approach. It adheres to some favourable rules, but blatantly flouts others that are detrimental to its commercial and geopolitical interests.
For instance, it would like to preserve the regime of free trade, but dismiss the norms of freedom, human rights and respect for the sovereignty of weaker states as liberal fantasies. Its policy in the South China Sea clearly violates international law. Its model of ‘state capitalism’ is incompatible with the liberal world order based on free private enterprises. Private companies do not possess the resources and political clout to compete against the state-sponsored companies in China.
This distorts the regime of open and free trade and is leading to the onset of trade and technology-wars between China and other countries.