As New Delhi gears up to host the heads of state for the big-ticket G20 Summit on September 9-10, the spotlight will be on India’s ability to forge a consensus on pressing issues that plague the global economy, while simultaneously addressing climate change and food security challenges.
The G20 summit serves as a forum for the world’s 20 most powerful economies and is a key platform for discussing global economic and financial issues. The summit marks the first major global event hosted by New Delhi since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When India assumed the G20 presidency from Indonesia in December last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared that the theme this time would be ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, in the true spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, or the ‘World is One Family’.
However, the complexities of bringing together a group with as diverse interests as the G20 were evident as the finance ministers and foreign ministers were unable to reach a consensus at their respective meetings held in Bengaluru and New Delhi because of deep divisions within the group over the Russia-Ukraine war.
The fissures within the G20 over the ongoing conflict are likely to continue to hamper the group’s ability to address other global challenges in the months and years to come.
Earlier this year, G20 presidency chief coordinator Harsh Vardhan Shringla, while bolstering the effectiveness of multi-national entities in shaping the world order, told news agency ANI that when G20 member countries take a decision, “it cuts across the board”.
Shringla noted that the G20 represents two-thirds of the global population, 85% of the world’s GDP, and 75% of international trade. He cited examples of the group’s collective actions, including debt service suspension initiatives amid the Covid pandemic. These measures allowed developing nations to defer debt repayments without incurring extra interest or taxes on multinationals.
Since assuming G20 presidency, India has organized more than 100 events, including sherpa tracks and ministerial meetings. These gatherings have focused on wide-ranging topics, including political engagement, anti-corruption, development, and energy.
The G20 calendar shows about 10 meetings are scheduled for this month, including the third tourism group meeting in Srinagar and the second trade and investment working group meeting in Bengaluru.
As the presidency ends with the summit, a declaration will be drafted based on the outcome of the numerous meetings that were held throughout the year.
The sheer number of meetings across the country also presents the state governments with an opportunity to highlight the respective region’s cultural heritage and diversity, while also showcasing India’s infrastructural and developmental achievements.
India’s economy has been growing rapidly in recent years. The country is expected to be one of the fastest-growing economies in the coming years. This growth is expected to create new opportunities for trade and investment.
India is also committed to global cooperation and has been a vocal advocate for multilateralism, while playing a leading role in international efforts to address climate change and other global challenges.
Meanwhile, work is on in full swing to complete the Pragati Maidan Convention Centre, the main venue where the heads of the world’s 19 biggest economies and the European Union will meet for the G20 Summit.
The convention centre will be one of the largest such complexes in the county and is expected to have a combined capacity of 13,500, including a separate floor for G20 leaders.
Despite the numerous challenges encompassing climate, security, cooperation and the global economy, the G20 summit offers India an opportunity to showcase its leadership in tackling global issues.
As the host nation, India has set its sights on emphasizing the importance of international cooperation, furthering the cause of sustainable development, and championing climate change mitigation efforts, while fostering global unity to overcome shared challenges.
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