G7 or the Group of Seven (G7) is an inter-governmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. They are all democratic countries supporting globalization, liberalization, freedom of navigation, rules-based order, respect for human rights, women rights, children's rights, LGBT rights, freedom to dissent, security for journalists, change of governments during elections peacefully, to name a few. The D-10 will be the extension of G 7 + 3 with additions of Australia, India and South Korea.
After the collapse of the Afghan civilian government by the Terrorist Taliban, which is a proxy of Pakistan ISI, Panjshir valley bombarded by Pakistan Air Force, China hosting Taliban before their emergence in Afghan, China declaring Aid to the Taliban, the world is entering a new era of strategic competition. It has bilateral, regional and global ramifications. For the first time in more than three decades, the world faces a systemic challenge from autocratic and non-state rivals from South Asia to the Middle East, Sahel Region to South East Asia and South America.
It is said that the world is at an "inflection point" between democracy and autocracy. Non-State Actors, World dreaded terrorists have taken Afghanistan with 17 of 33 Cabinet Ministers in Terror list carrying millions of dollars as bounty. They can use their land, air and space to spread terror. They can host give training, support money recruitment and more. On the other hand, China is growing more powerful and assertive as they engage in coercive tactics to expand their global influence. China's forced drought, debt-trap diplomacy, scaring neighbours and their statements of telling neighbours that they will use Nuclear Weapons are really dangerous. Meanwhile, democracies are becoming increasingly defensive, dealing with their own internal challenges while countering foreign disinformation, cyber-attacks and election meddling.
D-10 is being looked at as a Democratic Forces, with G 7 as an extension to address the above questions and trade, technology, supply chains, and standards. It was an initiative by the US Department of State policy planning dating back to 2008. It was picked up by the Atlantic Council, which launched an initiative in 2014 to maintain a rules-based democratic order under the leadership of ten leading democracies, representing about 60 per cent of global GDP and over 60% of the people living in democracies around the world.
The earlier aim of D-10 was channelling investments in existing telecommunication companies within the ten member states. The group aimed to create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China. But now, the group is being seen as an alternate arrangement against the authoritarian states and dreaded Terror Groups that harbour and support them.
Despite Japan's presence, the G-7 remains heavily weighted towards the transatlantic. A D-10 would reflect the increasing importance of the Indo-Pacific by ensuring that influential allies, such as Australia, South Korea and India. For America, the D-10 offers an attractive platform. It provides a new paradigm for American leadership to treat democratic allies as core partners in shaping a global order that reflects common interests and ideals like climate change and disruptive technologies.
But expanding the G-7 to D -10 will require unanimous consent, and not everyone is on board. Germany and Italy are concerned it could be seen as an anti-China alliance, while France remains sceptical of coalitions of democracies. Japan, too, has raised doubts about including South Korea in light of their historical grievances and perhaps a desire to remain the only Pacific member in the group. But the present-day situation makes all the nations stand above the narrow national interest and saves the world from succeeding generations for democracy and development. However, the notion of a D-10 clearly has rattled China. "Given the current chaotic
situations of Western democratic systems, the D10 club is just an illusionary idea said a mouthpiece of China Communist Party."
Finally, one can say that given the momentous challenges of this new era, the Democratic allies must be prepared to take dramatic steps. By rallying like-minded and capable democracies around a common purpose, the D-10 can serve as a powerful instrument for defending a rules-based democratic order. All like-minded countries share a common worldview in how they perceive global challenges and their commitment to promoting democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. D10 is what the democracies of the future need to strengthen United Nations and the World.
(The writer is a panellist, Political Analyst, Columnist, International Affairs and Korea Expert)