Meloni’s strategic journey to India obscures the value of democracy

On the long red carpet at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Indian presidential palace, Giorgia Meloni parades, the first phase of her official visit to New Delhi. Next to him is Narendra Modi, the ultra-Hindu prime minister of India, who will hold a series of meetings with international leaders during his G20 presidency this year.

The Italian prime minister, who is the guest of honor at the “Raisina Dialogue” geopolitical conference, celebrates the seventy-fifth anniversary of bilateral relations linking Rome with New Delhi, during a face-to-face meeting with his Indian counterpart on 2 March today. trade and defense agreements.

“Strong relations between India and Italy”

Praising the “extremely solid” bilateral relations, Meloni underlines the trade exchange, which has doubled its volume in the last two years, reaching a “record” figure of approximately 15 billion euros. In fact, New Delhi boasts a surplus of 5.2 billion, with trade up 42 percent in the last year alone. “But we both believe that more can be done,” was the hope of the Italian prime minister, who was presented at the press conference after his meeting with Modi. “Ours is a strategic choice, when we talk about the enlarged Mediterranean, we have to think that it has expanded so far,” Meloni said, referring to the interest that Rome wants to ascribe to the Indo-Pacific to halt the rise of China. . The Italian administrator understands very well that when the war in Ukraine is over, all eyes will be on the Indo-Pacific, whose dynamics will affect global dynamics and our country.

Security and defence, the value of Giorgia Meloni’s mission in India

It has also chosen to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, a security cooperation program launched by Italy, India and Australia, following what Chancellor Olaf Scholz did in Modi’s court last week. Again, the imperative is to curb Chinese dominance in the region to ensure an “open and free” Indo-Pacific, promoted by the US as part of Quad’s strategic partnership. “For this reason, we have decided to move our relations to a strategic partnership,” Meloni said in his statements to the press.

That is why the Italian prime minister intends to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the field of defense and energy security. With huge investments of more than 200 billion Euros in the defense sector, New Delhi stands out in Rome as an ideal addressee for new cooperations in the fields of defense and security. So the aim is to get big orders for Indian Army Navy and Air Force. “We have decided to accelerate the partnership and we want to work to further strengthen our economic relations,” said Meloni, and is also showing interest in other sectors such as digital transition, emerging technologies, cybersecurity and space, on which Rome focuses. New Delhi wants to initiate a dialogue to facilitate bilateral trade and investment.

The conflict between the two leaders then focused on the war in Ukraine. “Modi knows Italy’s position to fully support Ukraine,” said Meloni, hoping that as head of the G20, India can play a role in “facilitating the path to an end to hostilities and a just peace.” Taking the floor, Modi reiterated that “the problem can only be solved through dialogue and diplomacy: India is very ready to contribute to any project for peace”.

“The most populous democracy in the world”

Modi once again underlines the ambiguous position of neutrality in the conflict initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Like Beijing, New Delhi never condemned the invasion of Ukraine. And like China, India has also provided economic support to the Kremlin by increasing its energy imports. However, New Delhi, as the most populous democracy in the world, is included in the field of “positive” actors with strong power. The outlook was praised by Meloni, who seems to have forgotten about the contradictions and divisions (even the violent ones) in the Indian Subcontinent. “Narendra Modi and Giorgia Meloni – reading the joint statement released at the end of the meeting between the two leaders in New Delhi – underlined their firm commitment to democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law as core values.” for the promotion of peace, stability and development”.

But can India really present itself as a supporter of democracy in Asia and around the world? The ultra-Hindu prime minister has worked hard in recent years to eradicate the existence of the Muslim minority whose rights are now at stake. And not only. India is rising in the ranks of the countries with the most control and pressure on press freedom and web browsing freedom. In 2022, New Delhi set a new record for press freedom after falling to 150th place out of 180.

In the wake of the protests and some serious conflicts in 2002 in the state of Gujarat, where he was governor at the time, the release of a BBC documentary that sheds light on Modi’s responsibilities in the killing of hundreds of Muslims was the remedy. imposing restrictions on the Internet for security reasons and thus suppressing political opposition. Elements that cast more than a few shadows on the state of Indian democracy.

Source: Today IT