Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

G20 Summit’s importance for India: The world today looks at India’s crucial role as a beacon-light

India’s taking over of the Presidency of G20 from Indonesia for the 2023 Summit is of great importance in the sense that India today matters a lot in the global community. Also, India is a solitary giant among all the nations that has stood firmly strong when the rest of the nations, BOTH developed as well as developing ones, are still struggling to survive the debilitating impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the never-ending Russian war with Ukraine. This grim ‘realisation’ has brought about a lot of applause for India’s role from nations across the globe. And India’s effective role as a global player has given it a big boost to act all the more for a better, safer world. No wonder, India is now well-placed and all set to further enlarge its vision to play a greater role in the comity of nations. Its dynamic political, economical and foreign relations will present it with a great chance to have a greater say at international platforms.

G20 nations: As the name itself is so expressively indicative, the group has 19 nations and the EU: India, the US, the UK, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the EU. Besides these 20 permanent members, there are many special invitees among whom Spain is a permanent guest-member. The other countries to be invitees this year would be: the UAE, the Netherlands, Oman, Rwandan, Singapore, Bangladesh, Egypt and Mauritius.

The motto of the G20 group is self-explanatory of India’s stand based on rights, equality and justice. Therefore, the theme of the motto, put up  by Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi before the 2022 G20 Summit in Indonesia, is: ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, meaning: One Earth, one family and one future. This motto signifies India’s ‘umbrella’ wherein diversity, equality and justice are the elements that mark its nature of inclusivity and greatness, accepting divergent ideologies as a united, purposeful and responsible nation. Therefore, the motto is not just a few smart words to ring in music to the ears but the true reflection of India’s rich culture and civilisation. It was in this context that Prime Minister Modi had said recently: “It is a great opportunity for India and every Indian as there is an unprecedented curiosity among the people across the globe to know and understand India. India today is being studied in a new light. Our successes are being assessed and unprecedented hopes are being expressed about our future.”

India’s Presidency “will be inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented”, Mr Modi had said at the recent G20 Sherpa meeting in Udaipur, themed ‘Engaging Young Minds Programme’. He also said that India would host over 200 meetings at 56 different places across the length and breadth of the country, thereby showcasing India’s vision and its strength. And that will also tell a lot about the country today and its future. In other words, India will get one of the biggest multinational platforms to influence the rest of the world through its vision and recent records of political and economic strength under seriously debilitating circumstances that have ‘crippled’ the rest of the world by a few developments due to the misdeeds of a few arrogant and irresponsible nations.

Praise for India from across the globe: Soon after Mr Modi took over the Presidency of G20 for the current year, there was a volley of praises coming forth. All of them were sure that India was the most-deserving country for such a big role, and that India’s emergence as a global power too was appreciated by the world leaders. The latest praises have been pouring in from Pakistan media, quoting their political leaders. Most of them agree that India has emerged as a global player under Mr Modi and that it is among the top five economies of the world. Similarly, appreciating Mr Modi’s role in international issues, Sri Lankan President Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that India is in the right position to be a bridge between debt-ridden developing countries and the G20.

India’s stand on economic imbalances and global warming is well-known across the globe. India has firmly stood and will stand on its point of view that it is the developed nations that have a greater responsibility because they are the ones to be blamed for all the atmospheric ills as a result of their mindless usage of carbon-emitting technologies for over a century now. The fact that India and the other developing countries have had a very minor role in global warming too will be asserted at the G20 Summit this time. And yet, India will tell the world that on its part, it will never shirk from doing everything that is possible. In fact, India has already taken many steps that have enabled it to surpass its own aims and objectives. That is the reason why India is today looked at by the whole world in awe!

Summit’s agenda: The agenda of the G20 Summit is mainly to seek solutions to economic problems being faced by member-countries as well as others. The 2-day summit, beginning from Sept 9, 2023, in New Delhi, therefore, will focus on finding out ways and means for a stable economy and how to maintain sovereign debt. Now, that is not an easy task. Had that been so easy, there would have been no financial instability and inequality among the nations that we see today. The G20 had pledged at its 2022 summit in Bali to bring about a re-bounce in the economic system, with trillions of dollars to organisations involved in worldwide financial dealings.

The summit will also be, in many ways, revolutionary to usher in various steps to turn the fast-dying Earth into a vibrant and life-supporting planet. Great stress would be put on the urgent issue of seeking policies and systems in order to check global warming and pollution. Until that is done, any amount of funding by countries and international organisations will go waste. Global warming is a real threat to mankind’s very existence. Year after year, the average global temperature goes up threateningly. In the next 50 years, it is estimated the average global temperature rise would be anywhere between1 to 2 degree Celsius. An increase of even 1 degree Celsius would ring the bell of destruction and havoc on any kind of life on Earth, thereby creating a life and death issue. Hundreds of countries are already facing the difficulties of water crisis. The Antarctica is melting at a threatening rate, and the glaciers all over the world are seen disappearing. Villagers in many countries have been forced to leave their hearths in search of water and existential means.

The G20 nations, a combination of the most developed, developing and poor nations, has an unmistakable and unforgettable mission to save the globe, come what may. The fact that India is leading the ‘push’ this time is a statement of hope for a bright future in the years to come. The G20 is, therefore, the premier global ‘player’ in trade and cooperation in many problematic areas. As a result, its role is greatly significant in the sense that it can shape and reshape and strengthen the global governance to seek solutions to various problems relating to trade and cooperation in the interest of the entre global community as a single family.

Having come on stage to take a big and meaningful global role in 1999, the G20 member-countries have been having their annual summit every year. Its role in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been greatly effective. Earlier, in 2008, it effectively played its role in the global financial crisis that lasted for several years. But for its direct and immediate ‘interference’, the crisis could have continued for a longer time, thereby unleashing irreversible damages to trade and economy of the  global community. The G20 also played a very significant role in resolving the Syrian civil war and the Iranian n-power issue.

The G20 derives its strength from the fact that it accounts for almost 85 per cent of the global GDP, 75 per cent of the global trade and 65 per cent of the global population. These figures are mind-boggling and any sane person cannot but agree that G20 today is a global mover and shaker! It is this kind of strength and resolve that will enable the upcoming G20 Summit to brain-storm and find out solutions to a myriad of issues that have inflicted mankind today. The main point of argument is: We should be able to undo what we have done. Alas, the greed that we have used to exploit the natural resources beyond the level of ‘tolerance’ has led us to a point where we see nothing but a dark future of hunger, thirst and death in the not-so-distant future. It is this kind of danger that the G20 Summit will be starkly face to face with for a solution in the immediate future.

India’s stand: India’s Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi has come out as a champion in the movement to save the Earth from further global warming. He has been asserting India’s stand that it is the developed nations that are responsible for the deterioration of the climate system because of their mindless use of carbon-emitting technologies for over a century now. India and other developing countries have contributed to the global warming threat in a “very minor way”. Therefore, India will assert at the G20 summit, once again, that the developed nations have to be serious enough to take head-on the challenges right away. India, on its part, has been taking the issue most responsibly and with a mission-like zeal to meet all the requirements for a clean environment much before any other country did. But, Mr Modi will also assert that India can’t stop the disaster happening, all lone. The global community has to take full responsibility in taking up the necessary steps on a large-scale and on a very urgent basis.

To summarise the importance of India’s role in the global community as the head of the upcoming G20 Summit, one can say happily, proudly and with confidence that India will stand up to lead the world in finding out solutions so that mankind continues to enjoy its rights in a peaceful and progressive global community. The fact that India’s rising stature looks like unstoppable is a reassurance that the coming decades would be ours and the country will emerge as a beacon-light to dispel the global darkness.

(The author is a New Delhi-based Editor-at-large, columnist and professional speaker. The views are his own).