The Global South’s assertion in geopolitics
#GS-02 International Relations
What is the Global South:
- The Global South is a term often used to identify regions within Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
- Most, though not all of these countries are middle to low income countries and are often former colonies.
Why the Global South became Significant?
- China’s economic reach has widened during globalisation, hence now China began building counter institutions.
- The U.S.’s national security documents advocate curbing China’s rise, weakening Russia’s capabilities, securing Europe behind U.S. leadership and building satellite alliances with countries which conform to U.S. interests and values.
- Europe is now firmly behind the U.S.’s strategic plans and has been re-militarising. The developing Sino-Russian strategic partnership ‘without limits’ is the clearly defined adversary for the West. So, the only speed breaker is the Global South.
- The Global South, with a few exceptions wants a quick and negotiated end to this terrible war; all oppose the sanctions regime and all advocate neutrality.
Why the South is reluctant to join the West in condemnation of Russia?
- The needs for regime survival especially because many in the South are dependent on Russian energy, fuel, fertilizers, wheat, commodities and defence equipment.
- The refusal by the West to grant a one-time exception for patents for the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The way refugees from the South are treated in contrast to the welcome to Ukrainian refugees have revealed the unsurprising racism.
- Russia is not seen as a threat in the Global South.
- The fear of the U.S. strategy of freezing dollar reserves has made the South cautious.
- This is leading the South to gradually find ways of bypassing the dollar in bilateral trade by using local currencies.
How the South values Neutrality?
- Even with China’s expanding military footprint most of the Southern countries would not like to be a part of security or military alliances with either the West or the Russian or Chinese sides.
- When the US put massive pressure for sanctions on Russia and build threat narratives about China, there has been an unprecedented pushback from the South since they want to make their own strategic choices.
- However, regional powers also work with the U.S. to project their own power for example Saudi Arabia vis-à-vis Iran.
- Smaller states also do a balancing act between regional powers as Sri Lanka does between India and China.
How India maintains its neutrality?
- India increased oil purchases from Russia, shrugging off western pressure at the same time having a military Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the U.S.
- India also has developed the International North South Transport Corridor connecting Russia and India via central Asia and Iran with three sanctioned states.
- India participates in military exercises such as the U.S.-led RIMPAC (the Rim of the Pacific Exercise) at the same time sends a military contingent for the Vostok exercises with Russia and China.