G20: Opportunities and Challenges for India
The article discusses the opportunities and Challenges for India during its G20 presidency.
By Nikita Anand
India begin the G20 presidency on December 1st, 2022, at a crucial juncture in world affairs. “One Family, One Earth, One Future”, the theme of the G20 presidency itself summarizes India’s goals to achieve during the year and the presidency, that is, to get the world together to work on financial, health, education sector, business sector, and “Think20, Region20”. It is a significant moment in the history of Indian foreign policy and diplomacy.
The primary focus of India's G20 chairmanship is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Prime Minister, Narender Modi, has demonstrated that India will continue to be sincerely devoted to all the nations and would, going beyond the narrow scope of personal and national interest. Inclusive, equitable, and sustainable growth; LiFE (lifestyle for the environment); women's empowerment; digital public infrastructure and tech-enabled development in health, agriculture, education, commerce, skill-mapping, culture and tourism; climate financing; circular economy; global food security; energy security; green hydrogen; disaster risk reduction and resilience; developmental cooperation; and the fight against economic crimes are some of the priorities that India has identified for its G20 presidency.
During its G20 chairmanship, India has the opportunity to lead a successful multilateral platform for global governance. India has traditionally advocated developing nations having a bigger say in deciding their shared future. India has promised to enhance collaboration with this region of the world and share its experience for the well-being of people, in addition to giving countries of the Global South a forum to express their views, concerns, and suggestions. Given the G20 leadership, India has provided a forum for other countries from the Global South that is underrepresented at major global organizations.
The erratic changes in Global geopolitics and the economic landscape frequently disadvantage poor nations. There has always been a predominately one-sided power distribution internationally, with rich countries solely paying attention to their own interests and neglecting those of emerging nations. The western world has hegemonized the leadership and control of most international institutions and organizations. However, India's emergence as a major power offers a striking refutation of these dogmatically western-centric viewpoints.
While most problems being increasingly caused by the developed countries, its consequences are borne by developing countries. However, discussions on solutions remain abysmal. So, India’s G20 presidency is a big platform where Global South countries can voice their opinion and discuss their expectations. According to data by the United Nations Center for South-South Cooperation, the developing world, or what is now known as the Global South, consists of roughly 78 countries (often referred to as 77 countries plus China). These countries' development projects may greatly benefit from cooperation among these states. India's G20 presidency allows it to take the lead in advocating for the nations of the Global South and to present a development strategy for them.
India is in an unusual position because it is not just a typical developing nation; it is going through unique challenges as well as has great opportunities at the same time. India has been working and has an emerging economy in the sense that we are both members of the International Trade Union Confederation, as well as the world itself by being the member of groups like QUAD, BRICS, SCO, G20, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, AUKUS. Our goal is to sit at the high table of the UN Security Council, so while we represent and voice the concerns of the Global South, we should be mindful that we are no longer the stereotypical country from the Global South that we were forty years ago. Other important factors which demands attention in G20 is Russia's -Ukraine war, growing regional and global concerns regarding China's goals, and the BRICS which is no longer a credible or unified organization at this juncture.
India has consistently fought for the interests of all developing nations. When it was carried out, India wasn't taken seriously. Since we have a better stand in the world with our own views and interests ,the Prime Minister has spoken to the President of Russia about how this is not a time for war, and this assertion has been reaffirmed on numerous occasions at the UNSC, UN Chief, and G20. As it enters its 76th year of independence, India can proudly highlight the need for the industrialized nations of the bloc to do much more to support the troika by demonstrating the standards, practices, and policies in development that align with the 1.5 C degree objective, adaptation, and resilience building. It provides India with lots of space to innovate and advance an alternative, decentralized economic structure.
While there are opportunities, there are also hurdles that India will face. It will be difficult for India to establish its credentials with the Global South nations while serving as their representative as India has to meet the needs of billion of people and at the same time work according to its own national- interests. Also, in a recent summit speech in Bali, Prime Minister Modi claimed that multilateralism has failed as demonstrated in WHO’s dealing with the pandemic and the UN system collapsing as a result of ongoing conflicts and wars. These global challenges will be discussed on forums like the G20, signaling its increasing significance. The Old World Order is crumbling and this is a time of transition when the new order is developing, creating new norms and standards.Contributions will need to be translated into actual proposals for the Global South through the G20 and the IBSA Forum, each supported by a sizeable financial package.
Also, it is going to be a unique period in world history which will be marked when the three important emerging developing countries India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) take the helm of the G20 in 2023, 2024, and 2025, respectively. India has a unique opportunity to take the lead in developing a shared three-year agenda for the G20 and IBSA. During its presidency, India needs to seize the opportunity and establish itself through both thinking and deed if it wants to be seen as a successful global player.India access to the G20, allows it to improve its economic diplomacy, strengthening international ties between nations. With a clear vision for the G20 that India possesses, the presidency has the potential to significantly influence India's ties and position in the Indo-Pacific and the Global South. This will help to improve security, economic development, and rule-based governance in the area.
Food Security issues have a big impact on the world economy. Today, ensuring access to food is of immense importance. Numerous regional and international factors have an impact on food production, distribution, pricing, demand, and consumption. Regional and global food security may be at risk if there is a lack of stability in the economy, government, society, and environment, with the developing world taking the worst hit. For instance, grain shipments have been hindered by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has increased food prices and jeopardized the food security in far-off countries like Tanzania and Indonesia.
Climate change has an even greater influence on food security in countries like Kenya, Madagascar, Guatemala, Honduras, and Sri Lanka. One of the biggest challenges of India's G20 presidency is forging consensus to find broadly supported solutions for urgent problems viz. slowing global economy, the massive debt crisis threatening about 70 countries, the rise in global poverty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the climate crises.
A conflict between Indian and Chinese forces broke out a few days after India took over the G20 summit's presidency when Chinese troops attempted to remove an Indian Army outpost and pretended to be on a normal patrol. As it follows the Bali Declaration, where the presidents of the two nations met and exchanged pleasantries, and as India is tasked with hosting the G20 meeting, there is an attempt to divert India's focus by escalating border tensions. According to Chinese state media, Beijing wants to prevent the border dispute from being brought up at G20 Summit and suppress India's position in the United Nations Security Council as India also assumes the non-permanent membership at the UNSC.
Even while sustainable economic growth is the main goal of the whole world the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could scuttle these ambitions. This is still the case despite Prime Minister Modi's determination to keep it out of the spotlight. The negative image of India in the West by various public figures and media sources, most notably by the German Foreign Minister’s is especially troubling. As the current G20 leader, PM Modi, has had multiple conversations with Presidents Putin and Zelensky, India is ready to support any de-escalation efforts. India is certain that the basis of the international order should be international law, the UN Charter, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states. There is no doubt that how this conflict plays out might have a long-term effect on India's G20 chairmanship.
India aims to highlight LIFE as a vital topic of conversation and action during its Presidency. India believes that using digital platforms and technology will improve connections between the government and its citizens. The first step is to persuade people to alter their behavior in order to change the composition of demand; the second step is to persuade companies and markets to quickly adapt to the altered demand; and the third step is for governments and policymakers to reevaluate how they plan to encourage more rapid sustainable production and consumption. Mission LiFE has received backing from the G20 nations of France, the United Kingdom, and Argentina, and India can utilize its presidency to enlist the support of more members. India's vaccine diplomacy demonstrates its priority to oneness and togetherness when it comes to assisting the states in need and helping the environment for the greater good, which may very well be residing in the global good that India hopes from its G20 meetings. According to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India's ability to advance multilateralism to strengthen the marginalized and neglected parts of global society that are ambiguous to the western world will be highlighted by this presidency.
Disclaimer: This paper is the author's individual scholastic contribution and does not necessarily reflect the organization's viewpoint.
Nikita Anand is currently pursuing Masters in Diplomacy, Law and Business from OP Jindal Global University. Her interest includes Foreign policy and Public Policy.