Opinion: Opinion: India’s G20 Legacy For The World – Road Ahead For Brazil

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India’s year-long G20 presidency will come to an end as the baton is passed on to Brazil at the G20 Summit in Delhi on September 9-10. G20 events criss-crossed the length and breadth of the country, with 220 meetings across 60 cities in 28 states and eight Union Territories. The mega event also had over one lakh participants of 125 nationalities witness India’s progress as the world’s fifth-largest economy – with improved infrastructure, development in digitalisation, trade, manufacturing and tourism, and its diverse culture. All this made it a People’s G20.India took over G20 presidency against the backdrop of Covid, which created instability and volatility the world over, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which had global implications in the form of high inflation, shortages of food, fertilisers and energy, unsustainable debts, and supply-chain disruptions. The cascading challenges of climate change, the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the need for technological transformation and a robust digital public infrastructure, calls for multilateral institutions for the 21st century, and the imperative for women-led development – these continue to impact the global economy and community.Despite the geopolitical hurdles created by Russia and China, India has leveraged the G20 as a platform to unite the Global South and position itself as a bridge between the Global South and the G7.India has established itself as a leading voice, articulating the concerns, challenges and aspirations of the Global South, the under-developed nations and the African continent. India has championed the inclusion of the African Union as a full member of the Group 20, recognising the importance of representing all world economies.”India took over the G20 Presidency perhaps at the most difficult time, because we had the adverse impact of the pandemic and that of the Russia-Ukraine war. These two events have impacted nearly the whole world and more so the Global South or the congregation of the 125-odd developing or underdeveloped countries. Now that became the major priority for India. It became a universal approach. India tried to create a few new engagement groups and lot of recommendations have come along,” says Anil Trigunayat, former ambassador and distinguished fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation.Throughout its G20 presidency, India strategically aligned its chosen themes with the world’s key challenges, setting an exemplary G20 agenda aimed at fostering collective action on critical global issues. It reaffirmed its dedication to democracy and multilateralism, pursuing feasible global solutions for the benefit of all. This exemplified the idea of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One Earth, One Family, One Future”, underscoring the interconnection of cultures and contemporary global concerns.Highlighting its commitment to green development and climate finance, India propagated an infusion of modern lifestyles with sustainability as part of the ‘LiFE’ (Lifestyle for Environment) campaign. India proposed millets to the global palate. The Deccan High-Level Principles on Food Security and Nutrition 2023 were also established to ensure food and nutrition security.India pushed forward for an inclusive and advanced global digital public infrastructure. Many countries showed interest in the indigenously built India Stack (Aadhaar, DigiLocker, UPI, eKYC) and signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs). India was able to build an international consensus on regulating these technologies. That 46 per cent of global digital payment transactions are now in India is a milestone. Engagements relating to G20 events drew over 14 trillion social media impressions.Be it AI, crypto, semiconductors, or big tech regulation, India’s G20 presidency marks a turning point in shaping tech policies across the world. India spearheaded global regulations around crypto assets to prevent regulatory arbitrage. The need for a resilient and reliable supply chain, especially of critical minerals, which of late are being hoarded by the few powerful nations, was also highlighted.Under India’s presidency, debt restructuring through the Common Framework got a boost. Before India’s lead, only Chad carried out debt restructuring under this framework. With India’s focus, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Ghana have made notable advancements.As part of India’s commitment to enhancing global pandemic preparedness and response mechanisms, two significant initiatives were launched – an outcome document on the setting up of research and manufacturing networks for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, and the Global Initiative Digital Health platform for sharing digital goods and knowledge. At Chennai, an outcome document for keeping the oceans healthy was adopted. Developed economies, however, did not commit to any significant climate action. A global ecosystem for clean and green hydrogen, a Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre, and the Global Biofuels Alliance to enable energy transitions are some other achievements.As part of the tourism conclave, meetings were held in Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir – much to the chagrin of China and Pakistan. This was a strategic move to showcase India’s legitimate claim over both these territories. India’s tourism priorities like green tourism, digitalisation, skills, tourism MSMEs, and destination management were endorsed by the member countries, which also promised to make strides in gender equality and empowerment of women through tourism policies and initiatives.It is for the first time that the troika comprising the current, past and future presidencies of G20 will be from three major developing and emerging economies of the Global South. This gives India a rare opportunity to extend its contributions to G20 along with the other members of the troika – Indonesia and Brazil, to create a new world order that envisages peace, security, stability and prosperity for all. India and Brazil have worked together as part of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) blocks. It endorses India’s advocacy of fostering South-South cooperation and a shared vision of multipolarity. Now, it has to work for the formal inclusion of the African Union.”It would be difficult for any country in the world to match what India has done. There is no doubt about it but Brazil is our great friend. The best part about these four years is that whether it’s Indonesia or Brazil or South Africa, the Presidency will be held by developing countries. Brazil in its presidency will have its own theme, focus issues but being a developing country, it also has the same interest of the developing world. It should be far easier for Brazil than any other country,” says Mr Trigunayat.During its presidency, India has made a significant contribution to raising awareness of global issues. It has spotlighted the concerns of marginalised African nations and effectively acted as the voice of the Global South. India’s presidency has embraced a technology-driven, human centric approach, moving beyond a narrow focus on GDP.The possibility of securing a communique before India signs off remains a matter of speculation with Russia and China potentially attempting to undermine India’s efforts. But it won’t diminish India’s efforts in taking the G20 to the next level in the global comity.(Bharti Mishra Nath is a senior journalist)Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.

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