In his address at the B20 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized that the unequal distribution of critical and rare earth minerals could give rise to a new form of colonialism unless countries possessing these resources view them as a global responsibility. Modi underlined the significance of these minerals, which have gained increasing importance across sectors such as renewable energy, energy storage, telecommunications, defense, and healthcare. He warned that neglecting the global demand for these minerals could inadvertently perpetuate a colonial-like dynamic.
Highlighting the critical nature of these resources, Modi noted that while some countries possess abundant reserves, others lack them entirely. He expressed concern that failing to recognize the collective need for these minerals could lead to an imbalance of power and influence reminiscent of colonial times. Modi’s statement takes on greater significance in the context of the escalating worldwide pursuit of these minerals over the past years.
India itself became a member of the Mineral Security Partnership in June, a consortium comprising 13 nations including the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK, aimed at promoting investment in the global supply chains of critical minerals. Stressing the importance of considering both producers and consumers in the equation, Modi articulated that a successful market relies on a balance between their interests. He extended this principle to the international stage, asserting that treating other countries merely as markets would be detrimental in the long run.
Modi also addressed India’s role in the post-pandemic global supply chain. He highlighted the disruptions caused by the pandemic to traditional supply chains and positioned India as a key player in building a dependable and efficient global supply chain. This assertion aligns with the growing trend of manufacturing companies seeking alternatives to China and India’s efforts to enhance its manufacturing sector and attract global investors.
The Prime Minister highlighted the emergence of a “neo-middle class” of over 135 million people who have transcended multidimensional poverty over the past five years. This demographic, he noted, is driving India’s economic growth through increased purchasing power and aspirations.
Modi also applauded the recent success of India’s Chandrayaan-3 moon mission, underscoring its role in merging science and industry. He commended the participation of Indian businesses and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in contributing components for the mission. Describing the endeavor as a “responsible space program,” he emphasized its commitment to sustainability, innovation, and equality for the benefit of humanity and the planet.
In conclusion, Prime Minister Modi’s address at the B20 Summit spotlighted the criticality of ensuring equitable access to critical and rare earth minerals globally. He cautioned that failure to acknowledge this shared responsibility could perpetuate a model of new colonialism. Furthermore, he asserted India’s growing prominence in reshaping the global supply chain, its economic growth driven by the emerging “neo-middle class,” and the success of its space programs in advancing both science and industry.