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Vineet Ravindran asked: What is the ‘Global Security Initiative’, and how does it affect the Indo-Pacific & Quad?

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  • Prashant Kumar Singh replies: Chinese President Xi Jinping offered a ‘Global Security Initiative’ at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022, held on 21 April 2022. Under this initiative, Xi pledged to stay committed to the following six causes:

    1. Staying committed ‘to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.’
    2. Staying committed ‘to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs, and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries.’
    3. Staying committed to ‘the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, reject the Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and say no to group politics and bloc confrontation.’
    4. Staying committed ‘to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture.’
    5. Staying committed ‘to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction.’
    6. Staying committed ‘to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains.’

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi termed the ‘Global Security Initiative’ as Chinese wisdom to address the peace deficit of humanity and cope with global security challenges. Yet, one cannot miss the point that despite its presentation as a new formulation the ‘Global Security Initiative’ is in line with the long-standing normative espousals in Chinese foreign and security policy, including Xi’s concept of ‘common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security’ offered at the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai in May 2014. Xi’s other similar concept is ‘a community with a shared future for mankind.’ The normative espousals remain the same in all his security-related visions and concepts. 

     While Xi’s other security concepts seem to be addressing the neighbouring regions, the ‘Global Security Initiative’ appears to be addressing the global audience. It seems to be repositioning China in the international community as it was propounded in the wake of the Ukraine crisis and, as Wang Yi maintained, ‘[in response] to the urgent demand of the international community for upholding world peace and preventing conflicts and wars.’  

    The initiative can be seen as an effort to redefine security norms, counter or parallel to the norms espoused by proponents of the Indo-Pacific and Quad. There indeed is an element of China’s bid to compete with the leading Indo-Pacific and Quad countries to present itself as a better security provider in the region. However, mere espousal of the ‘Global Security Initiative’ does not impact the Indo-Pacific or Quad as China has to travel a long distance before the contradiction between its universalist principles and unilateral aggressive actions on the ground is resolved.

    For more details, please refer to the following MP-IDSA news digest: 

      Xi Jinping’s Global Security Initiative’, Strategic Digest, MP-IDSA, Vol. 4, No. 9, 1 May 2022, pp. 3–4.

    Posted on 23 November 2022

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.