India’s Global Leadership: Revamped Agenda and Reformed Multilateralism Impacting Emerging World Order
Prof. (Dr) Debasis Bhattacharya

India’s ascendancy as UNSecurity Council President in December 2022 for the second time in a span of only fifteen months remarkably reflect its growing global recognition as a formidable and credible power that is committed to strengthen the tenets of reformed multilateralism and transparent global governance in shaping the trajectory of emerging world order. Importantly, India’s enhanced global activism as UNSC President also coincided with taking over as G-20 Presidency in December 2022 for the upcoming year 2023. The unique nomenclature of twin presidencies bestows great responsibilities upon New Delhi to streamline the geopolitical and geo-economic architecture in global dimensions in terms of addressing emerging challenges especially at a critical juncture when Russia-Ukraine War is getting prolonged and more dangerous in the form of a proxy military confrontation between Russia-Belarus-China axis and US led NATO group. The ongoing conflict is potentially becoming a nuclear flashpoint along with resulting in energy crisis in continental Europe, enhanced tension in the Indo-Pacific region in the ambit of China-Taiwan-US confrontation, Afghanistan imbroglio and cascading security concerns in West Asia, and post-COVID global economic reconstruction. It can be asserted that rising stature of India as a responsible, trustworthy, and formidable military and economic power has enhanced global expectations in terms of delivering transformation leadership and providing stability and security to emerging world order.

Quickly rising to the occasion India’s leadership in UN Security Council has actively demonstrated determination to inculcate the tenets of reformed multilateralism to address the critical challenges in concert while strengthening international rules-based system in a spirit of shared progress, sustainability, and inclusiveness. Subsequently, as UN Security Council president India organized two signature events on December 14-15, 2022 towards formulating mitigation strategies. The meetings were held on “Reformed Multilateralism and Counter-Terrorism”. The meetings considerably helped the UN members to take the conversation forward towards reforming existing multilateral architecture and emboldening diplomatic cooperation in global dimensions.[1] India’s clarion call to international committee towards inculcating and enforcing the spirit of reformed multilateralism bears special significance in shaping the future agenda of global geostrategic principles and norms that enable laying out a viable roadmap towards revamping international security network – both in terms of land-based and maritime security – in conjunction with international monetary, financial, and trading systems. While convening the UN Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: New Orientation to Reformed Multilateralism” New Delhi stressed upon the need for meaningful changes in the operations and functioning of international system to effectively address the growing stresses and fissures that are confronting the existing geopolitical architecture. India’s call for the enforcement of a “New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System or NORMS” that envisages “fullest constituency of member states”[2] is truly insightful and potential game changer. While enabling tangible leadership the India-propelled NORMS aims at further strengthening the tenets of international rules based system in terms of making it more inclusive, legitimate, representative, fair and equitable while making multilateral governance more responsive to address traditional and new global challenges in a robust manner. India’s advocacy for urgency to enforce the principles of NORMS as a means to reform the various facets of current multilateral nomenclature that encompasses peace and security, development, and human rights including reforms in international institutionsis an attempt to enhance efficacy of existing multilateral architecture towards navigating contemporary realities.[3] Such intervention is appropriate and timely towards bringing in systemic reforms inexisting multilateral mechanism towards facilitating fulfilment of aspirations of majority in international community in an inclusive manner. The proposed reforms also encompass expansion of UN Security Council in order to make it more representative, legitimate, and relevant in addressing complex problems in terms of greater transparency, accountability, and objectivity of global governance and decision making mechanism. The high level open debate also enabled realization and urgency for structural reforms of existing multilateral regime and encouraged member-states to take forward this conversation by deliberating on the elements of a new orientation for multilateralism[4] to make it more robust and efficacious in addressing traditional and new global problems. New Delhi’s leadership role at the UN Security Council in December 2022 rightfully articulates shared progress and inclusiveness while enhancing efficacy of international governance mechanism by visualizing –

“Representative multilateral structure that is reflective of contemporary geopolitical realities is needed to address emerging challenges such as terrorism, radicalism, pandemics, threats from new and emerging technologies, growing asymmetric threats, the disruptive role of non-state actors and intensifying geopolitical competition.”[5]
On the issue of terrorism, India under UN Security Council presidency played significant role in providing new momentum in sensitizing the world community about the potential threats and security concerns arising out of terrorism in all forms and manifestations going across borders. Such approach enabled in building a consensus towards revamping counter-terrorism strategies in terms of adopting appropriate technological and intelligence sharing techniques to effectively deal with menace of terrorism. Towards that on December 15, 2022, India convened a high-level briefing on the theme – “Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts: Global Approach to Counter Terrorism – Challenges and Way Forward” that enabled to build a consensus and revitalize the initiative on redesigning norms and principles of a robust counter-terror architecture in a comprehensive manner. The high-level UNSC briefing held under India’s stewardship built on the historic Delhi Declaration adopted earlier during the special meeting of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee in October 2022 to synergize global dialogue and governance mechanism in terms of enhancement of international cooperation on technology enabled counter-terrorism strategies to combat issues related to expansion of internet and social media, new payment technologies and fundraising methods, unmanned aerial system including drones.[6]

New Delhi has made prudent use of its UNSC and G-20 presidencies to propel global dialogue and strengthen global and domestic counter-terrorism measures while making international community realize that threat of terrorism is grave, real, and universal and that terrorism in one part of the world adversely impacts peace and security in other parts of the globe.[7] The proceedings in UN Security Council under India’s stewardship in December 2022 have been robust and categorical to prioritize, synergize, and strategize on how to combat collectively, in conformity to the tenets of reformed multilateralism, the threat arising out of increased adoption of modern and digital technology by various terrorist outfit groups across the globe in conjunction with their taking advantage of crypto-currencies and crowd-funding platforms as means to finance transnational crime[8]. India’s UNSC presidency was a great realization to take prompt action and reinvigorate global community to further strengthen the systemic architecture of reformed multilateralism and transparency in global governance mechanism to address the challenges of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

India’s assuming UN Security Council presidency coincides with another milestone in the form of taking over of G-20 presidency on December 01, 2022 and India’s becoming the fifth largest economy of the world. The twin presidencies along with SCO presidency in the current year has ushered in an era of enhanced global activism as expectations have been ripe and growing in international domain about New Delhi’s positive interventions in addressing traditional and new challenges that currently grapple the world. For India, the G-20 presidency also comes at a very special moment as the country marks the beginning of “Amritkaal”, the 25-year period beginning from the 75th anniversary of its independence on 15 August 2022, extending to the centenary of its independence, and towards building a futuristic, prosperous, inclusive, self-reliant (“Atmanirbhar”) and developed society, manifested by a human-centric approach[9] in conjunction with the spirit of shared progress and force for global good.

Consistent to the need of hour in transnational dimensions India’s G-20 presidency is expected to provide prudent leadership, determined vision and definitive direction whereby substantive deliberations and systemic dialogue in conformity to the principles of India-initiated NORMS, which incidentally has been propounded concurrently during UN Security Council presidency in December 2022, across broad spectrum of priority areas encompassing inclusive and sustainable growth; reinvigorating the tenets of SDGs; green development and environment preservation; viable climate action programme; digital infrastructure enhancing connectivity; reforming multilateral financial institutions coupled with streamlining global monetary and trading systems; addressing energy security dilemma; strengthening medical diplomacy and information sharing to avert another Covid-19 like pandemic; and promoting international peace and harmony[10] that encompass security dimensions in all forms.

India’s UN Security Council and G-20 presidencies along with SCO presidency have come up at a critical juncture when global geopolitics is at the crossroads of balancing between demand and supply gap while inculcating shared progress and politico-economic reformation on one hand and unprecedented confrontation and disruptions in security, military, and economic paradigms on other. The world is looking towards India’s wisdom, vision, and prudent leadership to navigate through the troubled times and make transformational impact in ensuring geostrategic equilibrium while shaping the trajectory of emerging world order.

Endnotes :


(The paper is the author’s individual scholastic articulation. The author certifies that the article/paper is original in content, unpublished and it has not been submitted for publication/web upload elsewhere, and that the facts and figures quoted are duly referenced, as needed, and are believed to be correct). (The paper does not necessarily represent the organisational stance... More >>

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