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India’s successful G20 Presidency

by Ambassador Srikumar Menon - 14 October, 2023, 12:00 780 Views 0 Comment

Positive Outcomes & the Way Forward

In the days leading up to the G20 Summit at New Delhi, amidst the fractured geo-political scenario, the general perception was that it would be a challenging task for leaders of the 19 member countries and the EU to come together to agree, formulate and chart out a consensus approach to address and resolve the many problems bedevilling the world population.

It goes without saying that, despite the difficult circumstances and the accompanying complications, the Summit has been an unqualified success – belying the predictions of most pessimists.

This positive outcome under India’s Presidency was achieved by maintaining a fine, delicate balance while pushing for the global agenda of sustainable development and climate change mitigation and at the same time ensuring the stability of the international financial system. This was accomplished by getting everyone on board to pledge increased funding for financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF to support the global south.

While the Summit further reinforced India’s growing stature and global prominence, it certainly proved to be a water-shed moment for the developing nations representing the emerging economies within the G20 grouping.

The Troika of Indonesia, India and Brazil are now well placed to play a more proactive and decisive role in global affairs and in formulating and pushing policies within the grouping to structure ‘better global governance’.

Besides the success in negotiating a consensus language on the Russia-Ukraine war in the summit declaration, the biggest and most significant ‘take-away’ from the summit, to my mind, was the G20 leaders’ landmark decision to bring in the African Union (AU) into their fold.

India can take legitimate pride in having contributed substantially to global efforts to achieve this big break for its African partners.

The AU’s inclusion in G20 certainly translates into a big win for the 55 African nations. It is a logical and satisfactory culmination of India’s consistent efforts and support, over the years, in championing the cause of the Global South.

This success emanates from India’s unstinting commitment to the concept of ‘inclusivity and economic strength’ in the multi-lateral fora. India had, all along, strongly backed and helped to coordinate initiatives from different quarters to bring Africa into the global narrative, aimed at seeking a stronger voice for the continent in global affairs.

The global south, and Africa in particular, stand to gain the most, as the G20 sets forth on a path of seeking and defining sustainable solutions to combat problematic issues like food security, agriculture, environment, climate change, health and anti-corruption, besides finding ways to build on the potential of trade, investment and energy.

The way forward for India vis-à-vis Africa and the global south

India-Africa development cooperation will focus on 3 main aspects viz. bilateral, regional and pan-African cooperation, specifically in sectors like education, health, capacity building and sustainable development.

As part of its G20 Presidency, India had pledged to continue to support critical areas of importance for Africa’s economic growth, like infrastructure, power, energy and project financing. Indian support to its African partners has consistently focused on facilitating projects for the population that provides them with access to the most basic of necessities like electricity and water – for all Africans to run their homes, schools, hospitals and Industries.

India, as the world’s largest democracy, is now an important global player, emerging as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, next only to China. Keeping in step with the rapid technological advancements in the 21st century, India has positioned itself strategically within the G20 to harness and shape the digital economy.

India has also set a time-table for itself, as well as for other member countries, to chart the way forward and contribute to global efforts in combating the negative impact of climate change in partner countries in Africa and Latin America while ensuring sustainable development of the larger segment of the population, in line with the SDG 2030 agenda.

India was able to bring into sharp focus, the areas where G20 member countries, especially the developed among them, could contribute more consistently and robustly in an inclusive manner, to the wider global governance system so as to ensure financial stability.

India’s G20 Presidency also focused on developing urban infrastructure by financing smart cities of the future, using sustainable, adaptable technology to support people in an inclusive manner, while prioritizing the search for solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change, through climate financing, encouraging development of green technologies and energy transition.

India also emphasized its commitment to take a lead role in other areas like gender empowerment, inclusive economic growth, and digital public infrastructure development.

In conclusion, it can be said that India, as a responsible global power of influence, is now well-placed with its partners, to play a constructive and progressive role in shaping the global order in the coming decades.

Ambassador Srikumar Menon
Author is a Former Ambassador of India to South Sudan, Angola and Sao Tome & Principe
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