G20 Kickstarts In New Delhi


by Babra Wani 

SRINAGAR: The world’s twenty largest economies – without China and Russia, are participating in the 18th G20 summit in the capital city of India. African Union will be the newest member of the group and will be joining as a permanent member.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with US President Joe Biden and other prominent leaders from the world’s most affluent economies, during the G20 Summit, held at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on September 9, 2023

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden and other top leaders of the world’s wealthiest economies began deliberations on pressing global challenges at the G20 Summit here on Saturday under the shadow of the Ukraine war that has significantly fragmented the global geopolitical order.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the welcome address at Bharat Mandapam on Saturday. The first session of the two-day summit is being held at the ITPO Convention Centre Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Hosting the big-ticket summit for the first time, India is looking at producing tangible results in areas of financing for climate transition, digital public infrastructure, accelerated implementation of sustainable development goals, framework for cryptocurrency and reform of the international financial institutions.

Majority of priorities of the Indian G20 presidency were aimed at benefiting the Global South or the developing countries. Indian negotiators involved in drafting the leaders’ declaration are confident that most of New Delhi’s proposals would be endorsed by the top leadership of the grouping.

As per reports in the media, more than 30 top officials and heads of state like Joe Biden, the President of United States of America and 14 heads of different international organisations will be attending the summit. Several news reports also suggest that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director and Chairman Kristalina Georgieva and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala were among the first arriving leaders.

The summit will continue on Sunday, September 10 as well under the theme ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’ one earth, one family, one future.

Several global topics about economy, education, gender, climate, international taxation, digitalisation, multilateral institutions, sustainable future, sustainable development goals (SDGs), women empowerment, countering terrorism etc. are under discussion in this ongoing summit.

India’s G 20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant

India’s G20 sherpa Amitabh Kant, as per media reports said that New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration will reflect the voice of the global south and developing countries. “Our New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration is almost ready, I would not like to dwell on it because this declaration will be recommended to the leaders during the summit and the leaders will then accept it and only after it is accepted by the leaders, we will be able to talk about the actual achievements of this declaration,” he said.

“India’s expectation is that all G20 members will move towards a consensus and we are hopeful of a consensus on the communique,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said in response to a question on the possibility of Ukraine conflict holding up an agreement on the New Delhi Declaration.

The silver lining for India’s presidency is likely to be the support by almost all G20 countries to its proposal to include the African Union as a permanent member of the bloc that has emerged as perhaps the most influential multilateral forum after the United Nations.
On the inclusion of the African Union in the G20 bloc, Kwatra said he expected that the summit would take a “suitable decision” on it.

The European Union is looking forward to welcoming the African Union as a permanent member of the G20,” President of European Council Charles Michel said, indicating consensus on the proposal. The African Union (AU) is a significant organisation comprising 55 member states that make up the countries of the African continent.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hoped India’s presidency of G20 will help drive the transformative changes that the world desperately needs as he warned against the catastrophe of growing divisions and eroding trust in a fragmented world.
Addressing a press conference here shortly after his arrival for the G20 Summit, he said the phrase of ‘One Earth, One Family and One Future’ adopted by India as G20 theme inspired by the Maha Upanishad finds profound resonance in today’s world.

Antonio Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

“If we are indeed one global family, today we resemble rather a dysfunctional one,” he added.”

Guterres said India has been doing everything possible to fully represent interests of Global South in preparation of G20 Summit.

He also said G20 leaders must show leadership on climate and achieving sustainable development goals.

On Russia-Ukraine conflict, Guterres said he is not very hopeful of a peace solution in the immediate future.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has been flagged as a key topic on the agenda for the UK during the summit discussions, with Downing Street saying India’s role and influence is “vital”.

India has a vital role to play as the world’s largest democracy in calling out Russia’s assault on human rights and indeed democracy itself. We will use meetings with Modi or elsewhere to encourage them to use that influence to bring an end to Putin’s brutal invasion,” Sunak’s spokesperson said.

Asked whether the G20 will be able to come out with the leaders’ declaration at the summit in view of differences over the Ukraine conflict, President of European Council Charles Michel said it is still being negotiated.

The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed in a news release that the Group of seven industrialised countries(G7) are putting “pressure” on India in an attempt to have their unilateral approaches to the situation in Ukraine reflected in the final documents of the G20 summit.

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Modi said on X that it is important to emulate his mission of serving the underprivileged, the very last person in the queue, as he underlined India’s great emphasis on a human-centric way of furthering progress.

Rooted in our cultural ethos, India’s G20 presidency theme, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One Earth, One Family, One Future’, deeply resonates with our world view that the whole world is one family, he said.

“India’s G20 presidency has been inclusive, ambitious, decisive, and action-oriented. We actively voiced the developmental concerns of the Global South. It is my firm belief that the New Delhi G20 Summit will chart a new path in the human-centric and inclusive development,” said Modi, who will be holding bilateral meetings with several leaders and heads of delegations to further deepen bonds of friendship and cooperation.”

Modi said he will be chairing sessions on ‘One Earth’, ‘One Family’ and ‘One Future’, covering a range of issues of prime concern to the world community. These include furthering strong, sustainable, inclusive and balanced growth, he added.

In a riot of brown, green and shades of vivid orange, hundreds of trees lining roads through which heads of states and foreign delegates will travel during the G20 Summit were adorned with garlands of marigold, as the city wore a festive look.

Besides the G20 member nations, India has invited leaders of Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Singapore, Oman, Nigeria and the Netherlands.
After assuming the presidency of the bloc on December 1, 2022, India held around 200 meetings related to G20 across the country on a range of its priority areas.

The G20 member countries represent around 85 percent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

The grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU).


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