The Mexico challenge
When the G-20 meets at Los Cabos, Mexico, this month, India will share the limelight with the world’s leading developed and emerging market economies. In the G-20 and beyond, India stands at a foreign policy crossroads. It can pursue a policy of maintaining strategic autonomy and limiting global engagements. Or, India can work to renew today’s international order with the help of established powers such as the US, Europe, and Japan. India’s conundrum is not unique; like a handful of other rising democracies, it is a “global swing state”.
The term “swing state” originates in US domestic politics. It refers to the handful of states that, because of their mixed orientation, can tip the outcome of presidential polls. They are the states that matter most.
Internationally, there are countries that occupy a similar position: Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey, in addition to India. They share four defining attributes. All possess large and growing economies. All occupy strategic locations. All boast democratic governments. And critically, none has fully embraced the existing international order, rejected it, or offered a detailed alternative.
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