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‘South bloc’ in geopolitics and great power rivalry

‘South bloc’ in geopolitics and great power rivalry

All G7 member-states are members of G20, while China is at the center of G77. Of the BRICS nations, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil was the only head of the state and the government present at the Havana G77 summit whereas South Africa sent a cabinet minister for the summit. More than 100 countries, including 30 heads of state and government and those aligned with the Non-Aligned Movement, were present at the summit of the grouping that has 18 of the 25-member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, observer states or dialogue partners as members in addition to seven of G20 member-states. 

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres participated in the recent summits of BRICS, G20, G77 and the 78th UN convention. Guterres’ emphasis was on a new global order with increased participation from the Global South in the global governance system.

Guterres has asked G20 to assume leadership on two fronts: Emission reduction and climate justice. Eighty percent of emissions is from G20 countries, he pointed out, stressing the need for the latter to reduce emissions and build resilience in communities suffering the impacts of climate change. 

“This multiplicity of summits reflects the growing multipolarity of our world,” Guterres observed ahead of the Havana meeting and warned, “Multipolarity could be a factor in escalating geostrategic tensions, with tragic consequences.” 

At the G77 summit in Havana, pointing to climate and foreign debt, he articulated that the Global South was “trapped in a tangible global crisis.” The world is failing developing nations, he said, describing the grouping as “a champion of multilateralism”. Guterres stressed that G77 should “champion a system rooted in equality that is ready to reverse the injustice and neglect of centuries and deliver for all humanity and not only for the privileged”. 

China stated that it “will always make South-South cooperation a priority” in its dealing with the outside world.  Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the chair, said, “After all this time that the North has organized the world according to its interests, it is now up to the South to change the rules of the game.” 

In the realm of international relations and global governance, the roles of India and the US in the G20 and China in the G77 have significant implications. Fostered by G77, the ‘South bloc’ challenges traditional great power dominance and undertakes collective action to shape global politics. As India, the US and China navigate these blocs, their actions influence geopolitics and contribute to the ongoing dynamics of great power rivalry. Understanding these dynamics is critical for policymakers and scholars seeking to comprehend the changing landscape of international relations.

The US holds significant political influence within the G20 by virtue of its long-established global leadership and diplomatic reach. India has emerged as a voice representing developing nations and brings its unique political perspective to the forum. The US and India bring their distinct foreign policy priorities with connectivity and North-South cooperation. The US focuses on maintaining its global dominance and shaping the international order, while India emphasizes multilateralism, inclusivity and regional stability.

China pursues a distinct political strategy within the G77. Its active role, along with economic support, allows it to garner political influence, further reinforcing its position within the bloc. China seeks to promote its vision of development, connectivity and cooperation among developing nations through G77. Chinese foreign policy objectives concentrate on strengthening ties with these nations, including shaping economic relationships and securing access to resources