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OpinionsA Neighbourhood view of opportunities and challenges of India’s G20 presidency

A Neighbourhood view of opportunities and challenges of India’s G20 presidency


A balanced declaration a daunting task amidst divergent pulls and pressures

By M A Hossain

On September 9-10, the world's most influential heads of the state will meet in India for the annual G20 summit. India assumed the year-long presidency of G20 on 1st December 2022. During the last meet in Bali, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to world leaders that India would actively pursue inclusive, ambitious, and action-oriented policies throughout its G20 presidency. India has chosen the theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future” enshrined in the ancient Sanskrit ethos of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”. This theme embodies a holistic approach to growth with sustainability in consideration of all life forms in the development process and aligning with the imperative of protecting our Planet.

Modi has declared this summit as the ‘People's G20' for a post-pandemic world and prioritized with a special focus on microeconomic implications of food and energy insecurity, climate change, strengthening Multilateral Development Banks(MDBs), financing inclusivity, equitable and sustainable growth, digital public infrastructure, and climate financing. In the dynamic realm of global and economics, this Summit offers a unique opportunity for India to redefine its position on the world stage exhibiting its potential, addressing pressing global issues, and foster international cooperation. However, despite being a big opportunity, it has also its formidable challenges.

The group of twenty (G20) was formed in 1999 during the global economic recession and was initially a meeting of the minister of finance and the governor of the central bank to discuss policies for resolving the global economic crises. Now, the summit includes the head of the state, finance minister, foreign minister, and top-level bureaucrats.  The G20 emerged from international discontent over the failure of the G7 countries to find solutions to the global economic crisis. The G20 comprises 19 countries and the EU, including major developed and emerging economics. Additionally, there are 9 guest countries and 14 multilateral organizations as participants of G20. This powerful group accounts for about 65% of the world's population, 79% of global trade and approximately 85% of the world economy.

India's diplomacy and image have soared to new heights with a two-year term on the Security Council, the presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ongoing G20 presidency and even a successful lunar landing. It is fair to assert that no previous G20 chair has yet presided over a spectacular chairmanship as India's year-long extravaganza, positioning India as a global player and even as “The Mother of Democracy”.

India's Presidency has come at a very crucial period when the world collectively is recovering from the atrocities of the pandemic and ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. The commitment of the ‘People's G20' to inclusion is evident in how the G20 presidency is being executed in India. With eleven engagement groups, twelve working groups under the Sherpa track and eight under the finance track, the presidency is orchestrating 200 meetings of ministers, government officials and civil society members. It is also engaging young minds from various educational institutions across 32 different work streams in 50 cities of the country, instead of limiting all the events to the capital. India has strategically used yoga, Ayurveda, , and cricket to promote is image and offered G20 delegates and guests a glimpse of India's rich cultural heritage, its diversity, vibrancy, and hospitality, harnessing its ‘soft power' for branding as a global leader.

India has assumed the presidency when the world is confronting with multifarious challenges. India's leadership has to reconsider its in boundary and trans boundary challenges. Its own internal turmoil, with Manipur burning and communal flare-up in 's Nuh and Gurugram districts grabbing the headlines, require healing and harmony.  Furthermore, It is true that India faces the intricate task of balancing the interests and perspectives of diverse G20 members and partners on key issues.

The G20 is a diverse and heterogeneous group of countries, with different levels of development, political systems, economic models, and cultural values. This makes it rendering consensus elusive on some contention issues such as climate change, trade, taxation, digital economy, health and development.  The Russia-Ukraine conflict looms as a serious threat to regional and global security, as well as to the global economy. But India has a historical friendship with Russia, as well as strategic partnership with the US and other countries, adds complexity.  The world leaders will be eager to know the India's views on these pressing matters.

India acknowledged the impending consequences of economic decline, growing global poverty, and the delay in achieving Sustainable Development Goals. India must craft a balance declaration on addressing the root cause of the food, fuel and fertilizer crises, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and related sanctions. The trans boundary challenges of financing through MDBs, global inflation and macroeconomic implications of climate change constitute formidable hurdles in front of India's presidency. Policymakers in New Delhi have chosen to walk on a tightrope to be neutral on various geopolitical matters.

India's G20 presidency will pave the way for achieving its global power status. India has introduced specific schemes to leave its mark on the G20 Summit. It has also inserted the African Union (AU) membership proposal in upcoming summit. India is offering her rich ancient and sustainable traditions in favor of environment-friendly practices over market base consumerism embodied in the concept of LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment). Promoting green growth entails climate finance, technology, and equitable energy transitions for developing countries. India's G20 presidency will have a scope to rise the agenda as well as forerunner for the Global South onto the global stage. All these measures provide an opportunity to emerge India as an influential nation on global arena.

The international community will closely monitor India's actions during its G20 presidency. It has the potential to pave the way for rising economics to take the lead on international issues. But neglecting its regional obligations could jeopardize its credibility. The upcoming G20 summit will serve as a litmus test for India's position in a first-shifting International landscape. India needs to make sure that its G20 presidency is not only effective but also revolutionary by navigating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.  Arabian Post


The writer is a political and analyst based in Bangladesh.



The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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