Analysts identify India, Japan and Australia as middle powers that would group together to provide global leadership on pandemic and economic issues

Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar on Monday held a meeting with his counterparts from the US, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Israel and South Korea on the novel coronavirus pandemic, global health management and economic recovery.

“A broad-based virtual meeting on responding to the #CoronaVirus challenge. Productive discussion with FMs @SecPompeo, @MarisePayne,@Israel_katz, @moteging, @ernestofaraujo, & Kang Kyung-wha,” Jaishankar said in a twitter post.

“Conversation covered pandemic response, global health management, medical cooperation, economic recovery and travel norms. Look forward to continuing this engagement," he said in a second post.

The interaction is the first of its kind in this format though India has been holding conversations in a trilateral format with the US and Japan on one hand and Japan and Australia on the other. And it hints at possible a realignment of forces in a post covid-19 world.

According to analysts, US-China tensions over the origin of the pandemic is likely to see a small group of middle powers emerging to provide leadership on global issues in a post covid-19 world around whom other countries could coalesce.

The US has been looking inward for some time now and China was not looking like a reliable or responsible power given the cloud it is under for its alleged role in having kept under wraps the impact of the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes covid-19.

Against this backdrop, some analysts have identified India, Japan and Australia to be some of these so called middle powers that would group together to provide global leadership on issues.

These middle powers could look at help from the US at times though not be dependent on Washington, they say. With no one willing to bet on the contours of a post covid-19 world order, countries across the world were looking for leadership as well as hedging their bets, they add.

It is in this context that Jaishankar’s discussions assume significance though it was not immediately clear if these talks and others like it would lead to any immediate concrete outcomes.

Courtesy: Live Mint