Col B S Nagial (Retd)
Japan hosted the G-7 leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US for the 2023 summit. In addition to the members, other invitees were Australia, Brazil, the Africa Union Chair, the Cooks Islands, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Republic Of Korea. Various UN agencies and other international Organisations also participated. The summit was held from 19-21 May 2023.
The symbolism and the location were both powerful as well as thoughtful. An atomic bomb destroyed the city in 1945, the first-ever use of nuclear weapons. This horrible history led the people of Japan to bid for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation to make this world safe without nuclear weapons. Hiroshima’s past must remind us that when peace and good global order break down, it leads to conflict, instability, chaos and destruction. When the world is drifting away from peaceful co-existence at this juncture of history, this reminder holds good for the world.
As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings, Japan has led the international discussion on disarmament and non-proliferation. Japan has promoted real change by calling on all nuclear weapon states to take measures toward nuclear disarmament while increasing transparency in military armaments.
The world is at momentous junctions, facing severe crises such as climate change, disruption of supply chains after the pandemic, food shortage,the Ukraine-Russian conflict, and the Sudan crisis. These complexities shook the world. Thus G7 meeting was held against this backdrop and showed their determination and grit to uphold the free, fair and rule-based world order. Also, it is impossible to neglect the Global South’s aspirations. At the same time, the world has to address the devastating impacts created by the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The world can’t ignore these just objectives any more.
In Hiroshima, a strong message was sent to Russia to end the hostilities immediately, resolve issues through dialogue, and withdraw its troops from Ukraine territories controlled forcibly. It was further reiterated that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is problematic not only for the West or Europe but also for the rest of the world. Russia’s unilateral actions go against the basic foundation of the UNO Charter, to which Russia is a responsible signatory. It was further said that If Russia succeeds in Ukraine, then it sets the wrong precedence for others, which could undermine the peace and stability in Europe and the Indo-Pacific Region. Also, nuclear rhetoric by Russia is unacceptable, and Hiroshima has a message for them. Hiroshima Action Plan enshrined to make this world free of nuclear weapons.
In these times of uncertainties and tension, preserving, resourcing, and strengthening the existing regimes is paramount. The G7 urged all nations to take their responsibilities seriously to meet the highest safety and security standards to safeguard and promote the non-violent uses of nuclear energy, science, and technology, including those related to invoking next-generation nuclear technologies. They also emphasised that the transparency of the management of civil plutonium must be maintained. They vehemently oppose any attempt to produce or support the production of plutonium for military programs under the guise of civilian programs, which undermines the objectives of the NPT, including the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In this regard, they underscore the importance of implementing the Guidelines for managing plutonium.
Japan is also uniquely positioned to advocate for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Region for the nations in this region and the rest of the world. The world’s fate is attached to the future of the Indo-Pacific Region. Therefore cooperation, not confrontation and division, is the need of the hour. However, Indo-Pacific Region navigates the world economy but unfortunately is faced with many hurdles and security challenges.
During his recent visit to India, Fumio Kashida, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Japan, officially laid the vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Region and underlined the importance of rule-making through dialogue which enshrines the historical and cultural diversities of the nations in the region. G7 countries discussed the issues related to Indo-Pacific Region and deepened their concerns. Many countries in the world align their concerns about Indo-Pacific Region.
It is a matter of concern for Japan and the rest of the worldthat China is increasing its economic and military activities in the Indo-Pacific Region. This poses significant security threats to the global community and needs to be addressed immediately.
The severe challenges China poses in the Indo-Pacific Region could be addressed through robust national buildings of nations, cooperation among like-minded countries and serious dialogue with China. Peace and stability could be maintained by building constructive and stable relations among all the stakeholders in the region. Uniting nations everywhere is essential to defend the region’s freedom and territorial integrity. QUAD and AUKUS are critical initiatives in this direction.
The Hiroshima Summit was an excellent opportunity to discuss and address the issues that concern us all. Countries can work together to leverage public-private partnerships, especially in sustainable development projects, global supply chains, energy supplies, enhancing economic resilience and security, etc. Nations must address risks to our financial security and vulnerabilities in global supply chains through diversification and technology.
Energy security is essential for all of us, and the Ukraine-Russia conflict has further reinforced the importance of energy security for the nations. It is imperative to explore various pathways toward a resilient energy transition. Once again, it was reiterated that a free and open international order is paramount and can’t be compromised.
The Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) met in Hiroshima for the annual summit from 19- 21 May 2023, more united than ever in their resolve to meet the global challenges and set a course for a better future. Their objectives aredeeply rooted in the Charter of the United Nations (UN) and international partnerships and alliances.The international community is now at a historic turning point, having experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, being faced with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the threat to safety and security posed by the crisis in Sudan. All these events have stunned the world and threatened the foundation of the international order.Maintenance of the international order based on the rule of law and outreach to the Global South were the two perspectives highlighted during this meeting. Gender, Human Rights, Digitalisation and Science and Technology was also highlighted during the summit.
Col B S Nagial (Retd)