The G20 Summit 2023 in Delhi sets a global precedent by charting a unified course for a shared future
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
The 18th Heads of State and Government Summit of the G20 took place on September 9-10, 2023 in New Delhi with India's Presidency under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The theme for the summit was 'One Earth, One Family, One Future'.
On India's initiative, the 55-nation African Union (AU) became a permanent member of the G20 with Prime Minister Modi announcing this in his opening remarks saying, "It was in the spirit of 'Sabka Sath' that India proposed permanent membership for AU. I believe we all agree on this," Modi said, as he invited AU Chair and Comoros President Azali Assoumani. India had also invited Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the UAE, Bangladesh, Egypt and Oman as guest members.
India's G20 Presidency grants permanent membership to the 55-nation African Union, elevating global South's voice
The G20's primary role being a forum for international economic cooperation and in shaping and strengthening global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues, India conducted over 200 events across the country ranging from tourism to climate change apart from core issues of economy, finance and trade.
The New Delhi Declaration was adopted with 100 per cent consensus on all developmental and geo-political issues. This indicated great acumen in forging a common ground by all delegates in spite of significantly different stances on issues like the war in Ukraine and climate change. Pressure from the US-led West must have been to somehow condemn Russia although it is a war forced by US-NATO on Russia using Ukraine as proxy.
Highlights of declaration included the following:
Speaking in the third session of the G20 Summit, Prime Minister Modi emphasised the need to look beyond the global village idea towards a global family. He later posted on X, "Shared my thoughts during Session 3 of the G20 Summit. This Session focused on the theme of 'One Future.' Emphasised the need of the hour is to look beyond the idea of a Global Village and make the vision of Global Family a reality."
The New Delhi Declaration achieves 100 per cent agreement on Key Developmental and Geo-political issues, signaling unprecedented unity
The G20 Delhi Summit was unique on the following counts:
While handing over the G20 gavel to Brazil, Prime Minister Modi assured President Lula da Silva of cooperation during their G20 Presidency, which Brazil assumes on December 1, 2023. "India assures all possible cooperation to Brazil during their upcoming G20 Presidency," PM Modi said on X.
India propels the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, paving the way for faster and more efficient transit options
Post-adoption of the declaration, a press conference was chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the following:
Overall, the G20 Delhi Summit was a spectacular event with the G20 members collectively representing around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population. Forging a consensus of all delegates was not easy but the declaration achieved 100 per cent consensus, without footnotes and Chair's summary. The primary focus for the G20 is on macro-economic and global policy issues but global geopolitical developments led India to project itself as a major and credible voice on the global stage; speaking for the Global South when the divide between the rich nations and the less prosperous is growing.
A day before the G20 Delhi Summit, Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation wrote the following among other things: the G20 is well positioned to promote change across borders and global decision-making bodies but if it wants to solve age-old problems, it needs to embrace new ideas and more inclusive leadership in New Delhi and beyond;India, world's fifth-largest economy, uses its G20 Presidency to focus on issues impacting global majority issues particularly those related to economic justice; earlier in its Presidency, India co-convened both debtors and creditors in a potentially promising, first-of-its-kind Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable co-chaired by India, World Bank and IMF; pressure from G20 can accelerate debt relief to distressed countries; G21 (AU included) may be messier than G20, but it would be more credible capturing interests of both the Western-dominated G7 and the emerging and expanding BRICS.
India's stellar leadership at the G20 Summit attracts global acclaim, fuels calls for a permanent seat at the UNSC and an expanded role in G7
India's stellar presidency of the G20 Summit has attracted global accolades as the summit has given India a larger than before image on the global stage. There are calls for India to be given a permanent seat at the UNSC. Salvatore Babones wrote on September 10, 2023 that with India already looming much larger in global affairs than either Italy or Canada, the G7 must ultimately incorporate India to remain relevant to global economic governance.
However, all international forums and events have their share of cynicism, few samples of which in the instant case include:
Finally, this cannot be Asia's Century unless India and China come together. But there is little chance of this given China's aggressive stance. However, a rising India will have to navigate through global contradictions. The G20 Delhi Summit has shown it has the ability to do so.