India's G20 presidency has shown the way forward

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India's G20 presidency has shown the way forward

Monday, 18 September 2023 | umang kohli

The G20 Summit in Delhi has definitely given an impetus towards resolution of almost all global challenges confronting humanity as of today

India's G20 Presidency has shown the Way forward The G20 summit in New Delhi has been truly historic in many ways, for it paved the way for the African Union to be a permanent seat holder. Hence, G20 is no longer G20, but G21 now. This is the first time that an expansion of this nature has happened since 1990 when the intergovernmental forum was established. India has emerged as a nation with an ability to bring countries together to facilitate real change in the existing world order. The joint communique, which included 83 paragraphs and not a single note of dissent, speaks volumes of how remarkable India's presidency has been; something that global leaders are already reckoning with. The inclusion of the African Union as part of the G20 has opened up possibilities for the growth of the Global South like never before.

The forum has become more inclusive and multilateral emphasis on sustainability will help in giving a boost to balanced growth. Global initiatives in empowering women, digital landscape, strengthening emerging markets, green development have also been taken and will go a long way in progress of humanity and welfare of all. In a word that is highly polarised right now, this summit has helped in fostering consensus on vital subjects like climate change and war in Ukraine. India has shown remarkable astuteness in forging a consensus, something that many did not anticipate to come about during the summit. The noteworthy aspect about the summit was that it managed to throw up some important questions to the world community and humanity in general. Some of them were: Are we willing to walk the talk on sustainable development goals (SDGs)?

Can the entire world work together to stop climate change, which for sure is one of the biggest challenges confronting humanity in the long run? Is the world ready to include the Global South in its policy making process? Can the entire world progress together and work with each other rather than working in silos to bring prosperity for its citizens? Will the new trade route enable countries to shun the debt trap of China? Will the transfer of technology benefit the Global South? Have democracies across the world strengthened? And have the nations who propagate war become weaker? These are some of the questions that the G20 summit has not only raised, but also tried to address to some extent. At the G20 summit, Bharat called on leaders to work together ahead of the COP28 Summit to reduce their respective countries' carbon emissions and also support economies of the Global South to deal with the consequences of climate change.

The formation of the Global Biofuel Alliance and the pledge to work together to achieve net zero carbon emissions will go a long way in dealing with climate change. The summit has definitely set the agenda for COP28. The US and the EU have backed an ambitious plan to build an economic corridor, linking Europe with the Middle East and India via rail and sea. The launch of the corridor involving Saudi Arabia, UAE, the US and India is a long awaited trade route which works in the direction of One Earth.

It will help counter China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and also the nation's effort to practice debt-trap diplomacy. The corridor will definitely help in connecting the Global South with the western world and it will also foster prosperity for the world. The inclusion of the African Union as a permanent G20 member has huge strategic and geopolitical ramifications. Africa is potentially the next global growth hub, however, it had little say at the global high table. It is this imbalance that has now been addressed.

This is also a huge win for India, as it looks to counterbalance the Chinese outreach and influence in Africa. India also intends to transfer technology of digital payments to the African subcontinent. This looks like a giant step towards inclusion of Africa and the first step towards equitable distribution of resources among the various stakeholders. This statement is a vision for the future, a vision for a better world.

Other SDGs like health and gender equality were also mulled over and direction to achieve them was deliberated upon. India's G20 Presidency focused on consolidating the existing digital health initiatives and fostering equity in healthcare by incorporating tools like telemedicine and artificial intelligence.

As per the agenda of G20 Presidency, women must be at the centrestage of the development stories, as women are not just passive subjects, but agents, collaborators and decision-makers in the transformative socio-economic change. This is a change from the past. The G20 summit in Delhi has definitely given an impetus towards resolution of global challenges confronting humanity, even if many questions about their complete resolution remain unanswered. A roadmap has been given and the direction has been shown, it remains to be seen if the world is willing to walk on this road.

(The writer is expert on geopolitics and international affairs. The views expressed are personal)

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