India at G-20

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge as the head of the G-20 on Thursday after Indonesia ended its year-long leadership at the recent Bali meet. Formed 23 years ago, this powerful grouping has 19 nations plus the band of European Union; representing 85 per cent of the global trade, two-thirds of the world population and 60 per cent of the global space. It concentrates attention on matters of economy and sustainable development and steers clear of fields like global policing. It acts solely on a positive note but is constrained by lack of enforcement power. Decisions are taken by consensus. A large number of nations in the underdeveloped world are not a part of the group. Yet, the summits see invitation to as many as 13 global groups including the UN, African Union, Asean etc, signifying a degree of inclusiveness.
Notably, while taking over as president, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of how humanity is trapped in the ‘zero sum’ mindset of greed for long, with limited resources and larger requirements; creating the conditions for ‘confrontation and competition’ to possess more resources beyond their immediate reach; supply of essential goods being ‘weaponised’ and vaccines being hoarded by a few while billions remain vulnerable. India’s presidency, he promised, would work to promote a universal sense of oneness; with the theme, ‘One earth, one family, one future’. Climate Change, terrorism and pandemic, he stressed, are the three challenges that need to be handled not by confrontation but cooperation. Modi says, “India’s experiences in people-centric governance and inclusivity can provide insights for possible global solutions.” His promise was also that the G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with the Global South, whose voice often goes unheard. “India’s will be a presidency of healing, harmony and hope. Let us work together to shape a new paradigm — of human-centric globalization,” Modi stressed.
India’s urge to make a difference to the way G20 handles global situations is well-understood. Similar high-sounding statements had come from other leaders too when they took charge for their year-long tenure. Yet, the proof of the pudding is in its eating. What change India could bring to this large edifice, vis-à-vis its approaches, will be keenly watched and the stock-taking will happen by the time the baton is passed on to another nation at an event in Udaipur, Rajasthan, a year hence. India rarely occupied such exalted positions other than in rotation for brief periods. After the end of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), global attention could yet again be focused on India. This is an opportunity for India to prove its leadership credentials.

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