September 2023 will be remembered as a month of remarkable achievements and global influence in Indian history. India, a country known for its rich history and diverse culture, is on an incredible journey towards establishing itself as a global leader, shaping the future and contributing to the world in unprecedented ways.
With a rich cultural heritage dating back thousands of years and a population representing diverse languages, traditions and religions, India’s journey to becoming a global power highlights its capacity to adapt, innovate and embrace democracy.
In recent years, under the visionary leadership of its government, India has been making significant progress in various fields, from economy to technology, diplomacy to environmental sustainability.
India’s recent completion of the G20 Summit Chairmanship is a notable milestone in its list of significant achievements. This year, India’s G20 Presidency provided the country with a unique opportunity to lead a collaborative effort to address complex and interconnected challenges, with a special emphasis on the needs and aspirations of the developing world.
The challenges facing the world today are multifaceted, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, disruption in global supply chains, the pressing issue of climate change, concerns related to food and energy security, geopolitical tensions, rising inflation and emerging threats of debt crisis. These factors collectively contribute to global economic uncertainty and a slowdown in growth.
Under the theme “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth - One Family - One Future,” India’s G20 Presidency aimed to foster a sense of unity and consensus, recognising the imperative need for collective and effective action in addressing these global challenges.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi envisioned India’s G20 agenda as “inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive,” with India’s successes and experiences serving as valuable contributions to the development of global solutions.
The Group of 20 (G20) has officially adopted the New Delhi Leaders Summit Declaration following a consensus reached among its member states. After the declaration was adopted, the government held a press briefing to highlight the achievements during India’s G20 presidency.
India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, emphasised that the Indian presidency has successfully crafted solutions that resonate with every G20 member, providing a collective path forward.
Sitharaman went on to elaborate on some key outcomes, particularly in the context of strengthening multilateral development banks (MDBs).
These outcomes include a shared agreement among G20 nations on the necessity of enhancing MDBs, which are expected to be better, larger, and more effective. The G20 Independent Expert Group dedicated to strengthening MDBs has also submitted the first volume of its report.
There is also a collective commitment to increasing the World Bank’s financing capacity, as well as an endorsement of the G20 roadmap for implementing recommendations from an independent panel regarding the capital adequacy framework for MDBs.
These measures are anticipated to create an additional lending capacity of $200 billion over the next decade.
Sitharaman also highlighted the global momentum that has been generated under India’s presidency regarding clearer policies and regulations for cryptocurrencies. There is growing consensus on these issues at the international level, reflecting the work done during India’s G20 leadership.
During India’s G20 presidency, several important recommendations were made regarding financial inclusion and the potential for increased productivity through digital infrastructure, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Additionally, a consensus was reached on establishing a debt relief framework for Zambia, Ghana, and Ethiopia, marking significant progress in addressing their financial challenges. The financing of sustainable and resilient cities for the future has been integrated into the framework, making it accessible to Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).
Furthermore, substantial work has been undertaken within the G20 to facilitate the exchange of information on immovable properties, contributing to progress in the realm of international taxation.
Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar expressed particular satisfaction with the African Union’s permanent membership in the G20, highlighting its significance during a press conference.
Amitabh Kant, the G20 sherpa, emphasized that all 83 paragraphs of the joint declaration received unanimous consensus from all member countries.
This achievement, without the need for any footnotes or chair summaries, showcases India’s remarkable ability to bring all G20 members together at the same table.
According to G20 sherpa Amitabh Kant, a significant achievement during India’s presidency has been the establishment of a comprehensive green development pact.
This pact encompasses various critical areas such as financing, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, fostering a global biofuel alliance, promoting sustainable development, and addressing the issue of plastic pollution. Remarkably, every single country within the G20 has united in support of these initiatives.
Kant also highlighted the G20’s strong focus on sustainable development, health, and education. Additionally, there’s a commitment to achieving resilient and inclusive economic growth, advancing women’s empowerment, and improving overall well-being.
Regarding global inflation, Kant mentioned that once grain exports from countries like Russia and Ukraine pick up, it is expected to help mitigate inflation, especially in the grains sector.
Finance Minister Sitharaman, responding to a media inquiry, noted that domestic inflation is often influenced by factors like monsoon patterns and supply-side issues.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded the G20 Summit in Delhi by transferring the G20 presidency to Brazil's Lula Da Silva during the third G20 session, "One Future," at Bharat Mandapam in Delhi's Pragati Maidan. This marked the end of the two-day mega conclave of world leaders under India's G20 Presidency in the national capital.
The G20, formally known as the Group of Twenty, is a cooperative forum consisting of 19 independent nations and the European Union (EU) alongside the African Union (AU).
This collective body is dedicated to tackling significant global economic concerns, including matters pertaining to international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and the promotion of sustainable development.
Remarkably, the G20 member countries encompass approximately 85% of the world’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), are responsible for over 75% of global trade, and collectively represent around two-thirds of the global population and 60% of the world’s land area.
This influential assembly plays a pivotal role in addressing pressing challenges that impact the global economy and the well-being of people worldwide. The inception of the G20 dates back to 1999, emerging in response to a series of global economic crises.
Beginning in 2008, the G20 has consistently convened on an annual basis, with summits featuring the participation of each member nation’s head of government or state, finance minister, foreign minister, and other senior officials. Representing the European Union (EU) at these summits are the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
These gatherings often extend invitations to other countries, international organisations, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to participate in the discussions and initiatives.
In some cases, certain entities are granted permanent invitations, fostering a collaborative and inclusive approach to addressing critical global challenges.
In the 2009 summit, the G20 made a significant declaration by positioning itself as the principal platform for international economic and financial cooperation. Over the subsequent decade, the Group’s prominence has continued to grow, and experts acknowledge its substantial global influence.
However, it also faces criticism on several fronts, including its limited membership, absence of enforcement capabilities, and allegations of undermining existing international institutions. It’s worth noting that G20 summits often encounter protests, particularly from anti-globalisation groups.
These protests reflect concerns about the impact of global economic policies on various issues, including social and environmental factors. Despite these criticisms, the G20 remains a vital forum for addressing complex global economic challenges and fostering cooperation among major economies.
The G20 serves as the primary platform for global economic cooperation, wielding significant influence in shaping global economic policies. Unlike organisations with permanent staff, the G20 operates with a rotating annual presidency, chosen from different regional clusters among its 19 member countries.
Most groups are regionally organised, but two, Group 1 and Group 2, deviate from this pattern. Group 1 comprises Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, while Group 2 includes India, Russia, South Africa, and Türkiye.
The other groups consist of countries from the same region: Group 3 (Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico), Group 4 (France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom), and Group 5 (China, Indonesia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea). The European Union (EU), the 20th member, does not belong to any regional grouping.
The G20 Presidency rotates among these groups, with each country in a group having an equal opportunity to assume the presidency when their turn arrives. Currently, India, representing Group 2, holds the G20 Presidency from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023.
The G20 Presidency’s role involves consolidating the G20 agenda through collaboration with other member nations and in response to global economic developments. A “troika” system involving the current, immediate past, and next host countries ensures seamless transitions.
During India’s presidency, the G20 troika consisted of Indonesia, India, and Brazil. A significant development took place during the 18th G20 Summit in September 2023 when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the inclusion of the African Union as the 21st member of the G20.
The G20, born in 1999, emerged as a part of the post-World War II efforts to coordinate global economic policies. It joined the ranks of institutions like the “Bretton Woods twins” (the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) and the current World Trade Organization.
This informal gathering originated after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. It brought together Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from key industrialised and developing economies to engage in discussions concerning global economic and financial stability.
The idea of the G20 was first hinted at during the G7 summit in Cologne in June 1999 and was formally established during the G7 Finance Ministers’ meeting on September 26, 1999.
The inaugural meeting took place on December 15-16, 1999, in Berlin, with Canadian finance minister Paul Martin serving as the first chairman and the meeting being hosted by German finance minister Hans Eichel.
Following the global economic and financial crisis of 2007, it became evident that effective crisis coordination required the involvement of Heads of State/Government. Consequently, the G20 was elevated to this esteemed level in 2009.
Since then, G20 Leaders have regularly convened, solidifying its position as the primary platform for international economic cooperation. Under the guidance of a rotating Presidency, the G20 Summit convenes annually. Initially centred on macroeconomic concerns, the forum has since broadened its scope to encompass an array of critical topics.
These include, among others, trade, climate change, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, and anti-corruption.
Apart from its core member countries, which include 19 nations (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States), as well as the European Union, the G20 Presidencies extend invitations to other countries and international organisations (IOs) for participation in G20 meetings and the Summit.
During its G20 Presidency, India has extended invitations to several guest countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.
In addition to the regular G20 International Organizations, which encompass the UN, IMF, World Bank, WHO, WTO, ILO, FSB, and OECD, India has also invited specific Guest IOs.
These include the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Furthermore, Chairs of Regional Organisations such as the African Union (AU), African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been invited to participate in G20 activities.