By: Harshita Dangwal

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”

                                                                                                    ~ Henry Ford

In this 21st century, economic growth and sustainable living are on the rise, yet the pursuit of solidarity and collective consciousness are imperatives that are now needed much more than ever.

The world is a stage, with all the countries playing their parts respectively. However, it is the sheer presence of this diversity in terms of mindsets, perspectives and future aspirations that all these nations must come to a census on various matters to ensure a peaceful co-existence.

 In the wake of the Asian Financial Crisis (1997-1998), the participation of a major emerging market country in discussion of the international financial system was acknowledged, and the finance ministers of the G7 (a group made up of seven advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union) agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting. It is in this perspective, that the world leaders in the year 1999, decided to form an alliance of twenty of the world’s largest economies to confer the duty to engage in regular discourses on prominent global issues.

This alliance came to be known as “The Group of Twenty” or “G20”, a premier forum for international cooperation on the most important aspects of the international economic and financial agenda. It brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies.

 Member countries of G20 include – India, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, UK and USA.

How does chair rotation happen? Each year, one of these nations holds the presidency of G20 and works with its predecessor and successor, to continue the agenda. There’s a whole robust system that goes behind choosing the next country host. What really happens is, all the nations except the EU (as it’s a whole on its own) are grouped in five broad groupings based on their regions and every country within the group is eligible to take over the G20 presidency when it’s the turn of their grouping. 2 Hence, finally, the countries mutually decide amongst themselves the upcoming presidency. For instance, the 2022 G20 summit was held in Indonesia, and the 2023 G20 summit is supposed to be held under the presidency of India.

Significance of G20 summit –

the world’s most influential economic multilateral forum As aforementioned, G20 proves to be an avid platform for nations to present and discuss world issues that might affect their own homeland’s security and economic development. Economically speaking, all the G20 nations grouped together represent roughly around 90 per cent of the Global GDP, 80 per cent of Global Trade and two-thirds of the entire world’s population! In addition to reforming the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the G20 has launched work in other areas, including development, as well. Eventually, the financial crisis will subside and G20 finance ministers will return to their old roles, and leaders will focus on development, trade, and global governance issues, eventually reaching security and climate change agreements.

Although like the state of worldwide affairs is dynamic and everchanging, the significance of the G20 summit is not and cannot be fixed.

However, on broad terms, if one were to describe the outlines of G20 functionality, it would be –

  • Policy Coordination amongst the member states to achieve global stability.
  • Promotion of sustainable growth and financial regulations to prevent unforeseen financial crises.
  • Creation of a sound financial architecture.

 With a pool of developed, developing and under-developed nations, the G20 summit comes forth as a structure to define the future possibilities of Global Economic Growth and address issues pertaining to nuclear powers, trade, climate, healthcare etc. Keeping these in perspective, the G20 Summit follows a particular theme each year. In 2016, the main focus was on the 2030 Agenda (sustainable goals) and the latest G20 Summit in Indonesia (2022) envisioned the theme of “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”


India at G20

 With India’s economy growing expeditiously, it is natural that the world’s eyes and perspectives shift toward its functioning and economy. Since the previous G20 summits, India has been focused on engagement in domains of technology, finance, infrastructure, healthcare and curbing terrorism.

 Finance and Economy

Last year, when G20 Summit was held in Rome, Italy; India proved to be a proactive contributor to the world economy as evidenced by the positive upswing of Indian FDI figures, which included a 27 per cent growth from $ 51 Bn in 2019, making the country the fifth largest FDI recipient in the world. 3 India has brought to the table a host of policy changes and concrete initiatives during the years 2020-21 in terms of diplomacy and public policy. As a result, the country is now in a strong position to work with other world leaders to reach the goals set forth in the Sorrento Declaration.

 Healthcare and Infrastructure

That being said, India also emerged as a nation to quickly re-establish control when Covid-19 hit the country disastrously. India’s take on implementing realtime effective measures to curb the pandemic through well-divised infrastructure strategy in the health sector was considered a prima facie in the G20 summit held virtually. In order to engage in purposeful multilateral action, clear objectives were outlined, language for actionable points was refined, and stronger commitments were made to engage in multilateral action with purpose. Given the ambitious and large-scale nature of India’s own development plans, moving forward on the path to economic recovery requires a fresh approach to joint partnerships with peers.

Curbing Terrorism

 With an unprecendented Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi expressed concerns over the issue in the G20 Extraordinary Summit.

India’s stance on this issue of National Security was prominently supplying “urgent and unhindered” humanitarian assistance to the Afghani citizens, followed by suggestions to curb the possible terror activities that might root in the landlocked nation itself through diplomatic talks with the government in power. According to him, ‘a unified international response based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2593 is necessary to improve the situation in Afghanistan.’

“Participated in the G20 Summit on Afghanistan. Stressed on preventing Afghan territory from becoming the source of radicalisation and terrorism,”PM Modi tweeted.

India has always stressed its intolerance towards terrorism and has stood in solidarity by holding peace talks and discussions as and when required.

 “For countries like India, the G20 is a unique global institution, where developed and developing countries have equal stature. Here, the latter can display their global political, economic and intellectual leadership on a par with the world’s most powerful countries. It is the agenda-setting body that guides the international financial institutions and global standard-setting body that develops and enforces rules of global economic governance.”

 Now with India steering the presidency from 1st December 2022 to 30th November 2023, the nation’s core priority comprises – attracting investment for infrastructural development, revamping tax regimes and reforms, remittances, global trade, Fintech industry, cybersecurity, addressing geopolitical tensions,

The G20 Summit under the Indonesian presidency worked on the three core priority areas that included digital transformation, global health architecture and sustainable energy transition. It is imperative that India continues the legacy and implements these priority areas in its term as well in form of continuity. Additionally, India can continue the stances through its own dialogue on dual development (green and digital) and carrying forth the living realities in the post-pandemic world. That being said, India also needs to set its own list of priority issues in alignment to the summit in order to build a sustainable plan of action. The G20, however, must not suffer from an over-expansion of its mandate — as other multilateral organizations, and India must make sure of that.

Digital and Green transition still remain key factors in India’s growth and shall necessarily dictate social, economic and political well-being. India’s youth is the flagbearer to make it a superpower. As a matter of fact, the government has responded to the aspirations of India’s youth, and the digital economy is at the centre of its plans to achieve a $5-trillion economy by 2030. According to an Observer Research Foundation survey of young people, 83% want India’s tech industry to be taken into account in policy decisions. Meanwhile, 80% support greater technological cooperation with international partners.

Technology advancement and multilateralism should not, however, come at the expense of developing countries’ needs-which would be disastrous.

India’s G20 must also recognize the unprecedented and carbon-constrained nature of future growth. The environmental transition debate can no longer be limited to the moral primacy of saving the planet. A commitment to sustainable consumption and execution must be the focus. Adding to this, India’s presidency would also act as a multifaceted forum to address the humanitarian issues pertaining to inequalities and casualties exacerbated by transnational wars and weaponisation. With the United Nation’s comprehensive study about the loss of a decade of development due to the pandemic, the ongoing wars seem like fuel to the fire in worsening the civilian atrocities.

The Indian Presidency represents a great opportunity for revitalizing, reinventing and refocusing the multilateral order. Though the G20 recognizes the severity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Europe, the bilateral relations of some members should not distract and undermine the G20. The new multilateral reality must be faced by India with agility and energy and institutional structures that are fresh and robust to ensure the sustainability of multilateralism.

 This means that, under the Indian Presidency, the upcoming G20 Summit will serve as both an immaculate economic accelerator as well as a stimulus to knowledge expertise, while at the same time, addressing global affairs through mutually supported and productive arguments, which have the potential to drive a significant shift in the Indian subcontinent and throughout the world.



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