Andrew Korybko Jan 26 2023
Considering the economic, leadership, and security roles nowadays played by China, India, and Russia in Africa respectively, it can, therefore, more accurately be said that the RIC core of BRICS is a multipolar force to be reckoned with there instead of just China as many had previously thought up until the game-changing events of the past year.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov informed Africans during a press conference on his latest tour of the continent that India is an independent multipolar powerhouse. His exact words were as follows: “Those powerhouses of their respective regions and to a large extent for the world economy as China and India – you cannot ignore them and you cannot dictate to them — that they should develop the way that will continue to enrich the West – this is colonialism.”
His words are important in and of themselves but have even more significance upon analyzing their context. Regarding their face value, Russia’s top diplomat shared a statement of objectively existing and easily verifiable fact. India has proudly rebuffed US pressure upon it to sanction Russia and instead actually redoubled efforts to expand their strategic partnership comprehensively; its leadership is thus a bonafide multipolar one, and its economy also grew at twice the pace of China’s last year.
As for analyzing the context in which Lavrov informed Africans that India is an independent multipolar powerhouse, it took place shortly after Prime Minister Modi virtually hosted the first-ever Global South Summit, the purpose of which was to brainstorm his country’s G20 chairmanship plans. That event was a tangible step in the direction of India assembling a Neo-NAM to collectively create a third pole of influence for shattering the Sino-American bi-multipolar superpower duopoly.
The participation of so many African states among those over 120 developing countries that were invited to participate adds an additional strategic dimension to the fact that Lavrov chose to inform them of India’s indisputable status as an independent multipolar powerhouse while touring their continent. As such, Russia is indirectly reaffirming the viability of India’s unofficial bid to lead this collection of countries amidst the global systemic transition to complex multipolarity (“multiplexity”).
Many Africans had hitherto considered China the engine of that aforesaid transition across their continent before last year’s game-changing sequence of events due to its economic influence there. While China’s related sway remains unmatched, India has risen as a globally significant Great Power whose multipolar influence in Africa is now a force to be reckoned with, too, especially after the recent Global South Summit it virtually hosted.
In parallel with India’s rapid emergence over the past year as one of the African countries’ most strategic partners, Russia has also begun playing a more prominent multipolar role across the continent, albeit via its “DemocraticSecurity” model for helping them counteract Hybrid War threats. Considering the economic, leadership, and security roles played by China, India, and Russia in Africa, respectively, it can, therefore, more accurately be said that RIC is a force to be reckoned with there.
This clarification is important since the prior perception of China being Africa’s only significant multipolar player is outdated after everything that transpired over the last year. The People’s Republic still fulfills a major role in helping the continent’s countries find their place in the emerging Multipolar World Order. Still, India and Russia are equally important in their complementary ways too, which is what Lavrov appears to have hinted at during his recent press conference there.