The globalisation that the world saw from the late 1990s until about five or six years ago created a “globalisation ideology”, said Jaishankar.
“It created the idea that there is one globalisation, one truth, one narrative, and a certain narrow set of people that will decide what is right or wrong. Brexit and Donald Trump’s election are inflection points where economic globalisation continues but societies that don’t want to lose cultural identities are reasserting themselves.”
According to him, there’s a contest going on in the world today. “We’ve seen political rebalancing and economic rebalancing, but one of the toughest disputes we’re now entering is cultural rebalancing. It’s about who gets to define what’s right and what’s wrong. That’s a very big issue in international relations right now.”
The world currently has two big divides: the east-west and the north-south. “The east-west divide is centered around Ukraine, and the north-south divide is centered around development. India can play a bridging role between these divides, but not alone. There’s a need today to bridge these divides,” he said.
Jaishankar sees nations competing based on technological capabilities. “Different nations and groupings will assert their influence or dominance. It’s not a matter of prediction; it’s already there.”
In terms of the hegemony of big tech, Jaishankar said the idea that tech is neutral is not true, either geopolitically or within societies. “Some tech companies’ market caps are big enough to qualify for the G-20. In the name of narrative setting and political correctness, we can’t keep ducking these issues.”
The big arguments in the next 10 years will be around technology, he said. “The big manoeuvres are going to be around data, chips, AI, and space.”