Delhi will host Interpol’s 90th General Assembly from 18-21 October, representing an important development for that country and the emerging Multipolar World Order in general. Prime Minister Modi plans to open the event, which is taking place there for the first time in a quarter-century. It’ll therefore attract considerable coverage in that civilization-state and across the Global South more broadly.
Plenty has changed in the world since the last time India hosted Interpol’s General Assembly. It’s risen from being one developing country out of many to among the leaders of this informal bloc of states alongside China. Of relevance, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Jaishankar noted last month how many more countries than usual referred to his homeland during the UN General Assembly. This speaks to its growing role in International Relations.
In his words, “[UN reform] was articulated by President Biden. I think you also saw Minister Lavrov of Russia too explicitly mention India from the General Assembly podium. A number of countries also actually referred to India. It is not usual in a General Assembly for presidents and prime ministers or foreign ministers of a country to refer to another country… As someone who’s been coming here for many years, I do believe that it’s more than a subtle shift, and I welcome it.”
A lot of this has to do with India’s pragmatic policy of principled neutrality towards the Ukrainian Conflict, wherein it’s sought to carefully balance between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South of which it’s a part. In practice, this has seen Delhi neither condone nor condemn any of the participants, both direct ones like Moscow and Kiev as well as indirect ones like the NATO countries that support the second-mentioned.
It was decided back in November 2021 that India would host Interpol’s 90th General Assembly, which is before the global systemic transition to multipolarity unprecedentedly accelerated after the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and the US-led West’s coordinated response to it. Even then, it was clear that this was a country whose time on the world stage had come. This month’s multilateral event will prepare it for hosting next year’s G20, which is also a major honour.
Whether it’s the latest UN General Assembly, this month’s Interpol one, or next year’s informal general assembly of sorts for the world’s twenty largest economies, the partisanship of the now-undeniable New Cold War (which has been brewing for a while already) will predictably influence the proceedings. In the context of the present analysis, this concerns the election for the Vice-President of Europe, in which some expect a Russian candidate to participate in.
Pyotr Gorodov is a former member of the Commission for the Control of Files and incumbent Deputy Prosecutor General. He’s made a name for himself by pioneering cybersecurity proposals. In particular, Gorodov played a role in Russia’s draft submission to the UN for creating a Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes, which was the first step in this direction taken by any country in the world. He talked more about it in an interview here.
The reason why it’s relevant ahead of the upcoming elections for Interpol’s Vice-President of Europe is because this draft proposed including the rehabilitation of Nazism on the list of cybercrimes, the scourge of which was one of the triggers behind Russia’s ongoing special operation in Ukraine. Although the document also suggests adding the distribution of counterfeit medicines and arms trafficking too, among other acts, it’s likely the one about Nazism that’ll politicize the elections if he ends up running.
Objectively speaking, the rehabilitation of that discredited supremacist ideology is evil and should thus be universally countered by all responsible members of the international community, states and societies alike. In reality, however, it’s been weaponized as a form of Hybrid Warfare against Russia by the West, according to President Vladimir Putin in his address to the nation announcing the special operation and Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev just last week during a CIS security meeting.
With this in mind, Gorodov’s impressive cybersecurity and legal experience will almost certainly play second fiddle to his role in supporting Russia’s proposed international criminalization of rehabilitating Nazism. That would be regrettable but not unexpected, though some might consider it uncomfortable to watch that potentially play out on neutral Indian soil when Interpol’s Vice-President for Europe is being decided during this month’s elections at the body’s 90th General Assembly.
East will clash with West in the leading state of South Asia if the Russian-US dimension of the New Cold War (which also has a Chinese-US one to it as well) unfolds in the Indian capital in a few weeks. Should that happen, then it’ll be interesting to watch how everything develops, but even the predictable politicization of those proceedings in the event that Gorodov runs as some expect wouldn’t spoil the honour for Delhi of hosting something as significant as Interpol’s latest yearly gathering.
Although it was decided last November, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect in the present after all the world’s eyes converged on India during last month’s UN General Assembly, as EAM Jaishankar noted. Even though his country would have no role to play in the East-West struggle that might occur at this event since the election for Vice-President for Europe doesn’t concern its responsibilities in the organization or its hosting of this gathering, its name would still be associated with this if it happens.
That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing either since India’s balancing act between East and West, or the BRICS-led Global South in which Russia can be grouped and the US-led West’s Golden Billion more specifically, will inevitably result in it being placed in the centre of such struggles many more such times. While this one might only be legal-political in nature, others might be connected to economic or military-strategic affairs, but the point is that India will keep finding itself in the middle of these tussles.