The world has begun to circle around China. At the ongoing G-7 foreign ministerial meeting in London — a talk shop of major economies that does not include either China or Russia — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a message for Beijing, and even Moscow: we will protect the world against you.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar took a special flight to London to participate in the extended G-7 meeting — the UK has banned all commercial flights from London because of the raging pandemic in India — a measure of the importance New Delhi is according the conference.
If things get better at home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may well travel to the UK next month to attend the G-7 summit. It will be his first face-to-face meeting with US President Joe Biden. Apart from India, Australia, South Korea and South Africa are also special invitees.
Now look carefully at the list of all the participants. India and Australia, along with G-7 members Japan and the US — this would mean that the Quad leaders will be in the same room together.
There’s more. Australia, South Korea and Japan have long been described by the US as “major Non-NATO allies (MNNA),” which means that they have close strategic relations with the US armed forces. In 2019, the US Senate had agreed that India will become a “non-NATO ally,” which is one step below MNNA but acknowledges the special defence relationship between New Delhi and Washington.
India and the plurilateral bodies
It seems as if a new world order is being shaped in London these days, consisting of the G-7 + European Union + Quad + MNNA++ nations. And it is the Covid pandemic that is reshaping many of these new contours.