India gives voice to Global South via G20  


India is placing its bets on making its presidency a success by pushing for the membership of the African Union in the G20…reports Asian Lite News

The G20 leaders’ summit will be held in New Delhi on September 9-10. The 18th iteration of the summit cap India’s year-long presidency of the G20, at the end of which a G20 Leaders’ Declaration will be adopted.

In the lead-up to the summit, the Indian government have repeatedly invoked the term ‘Global South’. Earlier this year, at the G20 Development Ministers’ meeting in Varanasi, the Prime Minister said that “development is a core issue for the Global South”.

India has flagged the issues plaguing the Global South countries on international forums, including at the United Nations meetings and conferences, many times before.

“In the years following its independence, India pioneered the Non-Alignment Movement to ensure more room to manoeuvre and wider options for developing countries to avoid becoming embroiled in the great power politics of the time, while championing third world solidarity,” Shairee Malhotra, Associate Fellow, Europe with global think tank Observer Research Foundation’s (ORF) Strategic Studies Programme, wrote in her February article.

New Delhi’s close relations with countries in the Global North, and its similar challenges to those of the Global South, puts the Asian country in a unique position, Malhotra further noted.

As Ashok Malik, a former adviser to the Indian foreign ministry, told Deutsche Welle (DW) that India has “a deep intersection with the West in terms of strategic goals and values.” But, he added that “it also has deep roots in the Global South. So what India has tried to do is to be a bridge between the G20 members of the developed world, as it were, and the Global South.”

With India at the helm of G20, it has continued to make efforts to bring the Global North and South – which often do not agree on key policy areas – to the table.

In January, India convened a virtual summit titled ‘Voice of the Global South Summit’ of leaders and ministers of developing countries. New Delhi aimed to consult countries not represented in G20 about their developmental priorities and their expectations from India during its presidency, reported Hindustan Times (HT).

Prime Minister Modi in his inaugural address to the summit on 12 January called for a global agenda of 4Rs – Respond, Recognise, Respect and Reform.

Explaining further, the Indian leader, as per The Diplomat magazine, said that “this meant responding to the priorities of the Global South, recognising the principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities’, respecting the sovereignty of all nations, and reforming international institutions to make them more relevant.”

Billed as the “largest” digital conference, the summit saw the presence of 125 countries, including 29 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 47 African nations, seven countries from Europe, 31 Asian countries, and 11 countries from Oceania, reported HT.

Calling for a “human-centric globalisation” Modi told the summit that “India’s G20 presidency will attempt to voice the views of the Global South” on important issues.

Later in June, India held a two-day event on international taxation in Maharashtra’s Nagpur, along with South Centre, a Geneva-based intergovernmental policy research think-tank of 55 developing countries. In a press release at the time, the finance ministry said, “Under the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has strived to champion the concerns and aspirations of the Global South during its G20 presidency. The focus of this event was to address the pressing tax challenges emerging from the digitalisation of the global economy and explore solutions that promote inclusivity and fairness”.

According to The Hindu report, India is placing its bets on making its presidency a success by pushing for the membership of the African Union (AU) in the G20.

The report says that there is “much support” for India’s AU proposal because of two reasons. Firstly, this is the first time that the G20 troika – Indonesia, India and Brazil – consists of three developing and emerging economies.

Secondly, the present G20 is seen as “over-representing” Europe, as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union (EU) make up a quarter of the grouping.

While Russia and China, who want no reference to the Ukraine war in a G20 document, are already posing a challenge for India’s presidency to bring all leaders on board to forge a joint statement, the induction of AU members can prove a “bright spot” for the country, the newspaper noted.

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