Strategic Partnership between India and Argentina towards a New World Order in the Post COVID World

Prativa Shaw

Research Assistance, RIS

 

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has not only created a frightening litany of challenges but also created an opportunity to turn the threat to rewrite the future to become more equitable, sustainable and inclusive. The year 2020 is very stressful and struggling time to get through for the poor who are getting poorer with up to 90 million people pushed into extreme poverty and global growth contracted by 4.4 per cent in 2020 (IMF projection). However, some rays of hope can be seen with some success in vaccine development, but access to vaccines for all is one of the biggest challenges. It is important that the world cooperates and coordinates to build a more resilient and sustainable future with concrete actions, rapid innovation, and cross-sector partnership for scaling production of goods, protecting jobs and providing food to the most vulnerable. To discuss some of these issues, prominent think tanks from India and Argentina came together on 6 November 2020 through a virtual webinar organized by RIS in collaboration with The Embassy of India in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay and CIPPEC, Argentina. The webinar was addressed by Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India and Mr. Felipe Solá, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina.

 

Partnership between India and Argentina

As members of the Global South, India and Argentina share common problems and cooperate in a more horizontal base. They have strong ties in trade, economy, diplomacy, and values. This deep relationship[1] is based on common principle, values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for territorial integrity, as well as a shared openness to new thoughts and ideas. The cultural and people to people connect between the two nations holds a special place for each other. A plethora of yoga practitioners in Argentina and crazy fans for Lionel Messi in India is a statement in itself.

With the increasing high level interactions and considerable progress in various sectors have elevated the 70 years of diplomatic and bilateral relationship into a strategic partnership[2] by advancing cooperation in high-tech sectors in space, nuclear, information and communication technologies, and defence. In the last decade, bilateral trade doubled[3] to over USD 3 billion. Almost 40 per cent of the bilateral agreements[4] signed between Argentina and India are related to Science and Technology (S&T) cooperation. The Indian cooperation in S&T has helped Argentina to generate important outcomes for developing new technologies in the energy[5] sector like biomass and renewable energy. This robust economic tie-up strengthened further with the presence of many MNCs and start-ups in Argentina and vice-versa. However, still many areas of cooperation are untapped and remain unexplored. There is need for extensive cooperation beyond increasing exports and market access to each other’s products. There is huge scope to expand the partnership in manufacturing and agriculture sector as the export profile has to be broadened and needs scaling up. Some potential areas of cooperation are agricultural products like edible oils, agricultural machinery and fertilizers, clean technologies, energy security, renewable energy, and minerals like lithium in Argentina complement the large appetite for metals and minerals across various sectors in India, including crucial ones like e-vehicles. The IT sector, new technologies like AI has the potential to address the unique challenges during the pandemic. India has demonstrated its expertise in these areas to lead an inclusive growth agenda, including the large scale use of ICT applications for governance. Advanced infrastructure in science and energy challenges are the major concern for both countries that need a stronger focus. Thus, India and Argentina have tremendous opportunity for joining hands to arrive at a better future and encourage inclusivity through quality education, well-being and health, infrastructure, empowerment, STI cooperation and enhancement of multilateralism with the promise of working together.

New World Order in post-COVID World

The world has been struggling to survive through the uncommon and devastating worldwide emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic such as restoring negotiations on trade deals, arms agreements and immigration laws that require strong cooperation and participation for peaceful international relationship rather than competition among the nations. Currently, efforts are on to increase demand and advancing towards self-reliance with the aims to harmonize domestic production and consumption with global supply chains as well as promotion of international trade and investment and creating an environment of global recovery and reform.

As the COVID-19 has hit-hard, Argentina has becomes one of the worst hit countries in the region with several immediate challenges in health, informal sector, employment, MSMEs, inflation,  employment, etc. These challenges require innovative solutions with free movement and access to knowledge. Thus, sharing knowledge and processes to tackle the pandemic is much needed. Access to health care services and pharmaceuticals is crucial. India being the global supplier of generic and life-saving drugs had gifted[6] life-saving medicines and essential protective gear to around 150 countries (including to 27 in the Latin America and Caribbean region). While exporting Hydroxychloroquine and Paracetamol to Argentina, special exemptions were granted by India. Similarly, the friendly gesture was witnessed from Argentina by allowing the export of ventilators to India.

Generally, technology gets the blame for its adverse effect with the fear of job loss but it has immense potential to have positive impact for sustainable consumption and production with enhancing productivity. For instance, the success of app-based infection tracking systems is one such example of innovative solutions. Thus, the world needs more sustainable models of growth with emphasis on development cooperation. Both India and Argentina are strong believers in South-South Cooperation (SSC) with shared and common interests on global issues ranging from terrorism, climate change, sustainable development, women’s issues, human rights, and non-proliferation, etc. Argentina is the only country in the Latin region to join hands with India to fight against terrorism and has issued[7] a ‘Special Declaration to Fight Terrorism’ in 2019. Both the countries are vocal for articulating the developing countries’ perspective and cooperate in a number of multilateral and international fora like United Nations, G20 and WTO, to champion the cause of multi-polarity and reformed multilateralism for a rule-based and transparent world order. Hence, the time has come to revisit the idea of multilateralism and there is need for global agreement on much more responsive, innovative, constructive and more engaging participation.



[1] EAM remarks during the Webinar on India and Argentina in the New World Order: Dialogue among Indian and Argentine Think Tanks' held on 6 November 2020

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

[4] Sly.M.J.H., (2019, July), “India-Argentina Science and Technology Cooperation: A Case of Utilisation of Biomass as a Source of Energy”, Development cooperation Review. Vol. 2 No. 4

[5] ibid

[6] EAM remarks during the Webinar on India and Argentina in the New World Order: Dialogue among Indian and Argentine Think Tanks' held on 6 November 2020

[7] ibid

Comments

  1. The pandemic disrupted the global supply chain and has adverse effects on the majority of small as well as large companies. Thanks for sharing your insights Prativa. Found this blog very useful as I am pursuing a PGDM Course in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from a distance learning institute. Keep sharing more on this

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