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Leaders applaud India for amplifying voice of Global South in G20 Presidency, recall help extended during pandemic

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hosted several leaders of the Global South at a special ‘India-UN for Global South: Delivering for Development’ side event on Saturday where they lauded India for being a 'stalwart leader' advocating interests and concerns of developing nations on the international stage.
Last Updated : 24 September 2023, 15:00 IST

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With its leadership of the G20, India gave a voice to countries of the Global South and by supplying Covid-19 vaccines to nations across the world during the pandemic, India extended a hand of humanity to those who were struggling at a time when others were involved in “vaccine diplomacy”, leaders said here.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hosted several leaders of the Global South at a special ‘India-UN for Global South: Delivering for Development’ side event on Saturday where they lauded India for being a 'stalwart leader' advocating interests and concerns of developing nations on the international stage.

The event on the margins of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly saw participation from dignitaries at the UN as well as Foreign Ministers from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Small Island States who congratulated India on its successful presidency of the G20 and the momentous Leaders’ Summit held in Delhi earlier this month that culminated in the adoption by consensus of a landmark joint declaration.

"In many respects, India stands as a stalwart leader of the Global South advocating for the interests and concerns of developing nations on the international stage. Through its stewardship of the G20 Presidency, India has played a pivotal role in amplifying the concerns and interests of the Global South, embodying the spirit of solidarity and cooperation among nations,” Bhutan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Tandi Dorji said.

He said India's hosting of the G20 Summit and its dedication to the welfare of the Global South is “testament to its leadership in the international arena.”

The Bhutanese minister also applauded the admission of the African Union into the G20, crediting the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this achievement.

"Undoubtedly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves recognition for championing the inclusion of the African Union in the G20. A proposal made three months prior to the summit laid the foundation for this historic decision,” Dorji said.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy of Dominica Dr Vince Henderson said that India used its leadership of the G20 to be inclusive and to give a voice to developing countries like itself.

Henderson said that for small island states developing countries, the fact that India itself as a developing country, “extends the hand of friendship to us is something that we are eternally grateful for."

He voiced appreciation for the fact that India is able to share with others in spite of its own challenges, including pulling hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

"I think the lesson that moves me the most is the Covid-19 pandemic. I had the opportunity to sit in a very important capital of the world. I will not call names, where I remember struggling with seeing how we could get an immediate, urgent response by having access to vaccines…. And before we knew it, India was able to respond and provide us with vaccines” in Dominica as well as other member states in the Caribbean and the rest of the world.

“I personally want to thank you, the people and government of India for reaching out to us at a time of such need. I also sort of do a double take when I heard the expression of ‘vaccine diplomacy’. I wouldn't call it that. I think it was just extending the hand of humanity. I think there were other countries involved in vaccine diplomacy, not India,” Henderson said to a round of applause from the audience.

Dominica said India deserves to have a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, not only as the most populous country on earth but as a “country that has shown great responsibility in the exercise of its own power.”

Mauritius Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Maneesh Gobin, congratulating India on the G20 Presidency, said that at a time of mounting divergences within the international community, the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration is an “illustration” that countries from North and South can overcome differences for the common good.

He said India's presidency under the sterling leadership of Prime Minister Modi will without doubt go down in history as one which has lived up to its call for sustainable and human-centred development.

"This feat would not have been possible without your personal involvement and advocacy for an inclusive and consultative approach throughout India’s presidency,” Gobin said, adding that Mauritius was “very honoured” to be invited as a guest country at the G20.

"Throughout the G20, I should say whereby the global south has been given a prominent voice,” he said and welcomed the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of G20 “which reinforces the legitimacy of the G20.”

Maldives Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Khaleel said hosting the G20 Summit against a challenging global political landscape and ensuring its culmination in the consensus declaration was by any means no small feat.

"In this journey, India has also established itself as the voice of the Global South, bringing to the fore challenges faced by the developing world, to the G20 Summit and the UN,” Khaleel said.

He added that in the UN, India continues to walk the talk and the India-UN Development Partnership Fund is hailed by many as the blueprint for South-South cooperation.

"The Maldives as a small island developing country has reaped the benefits of India's leadership in the Global South through its neighbourhood first policy,” he said, adding Male also attributes a significant portion of its fast-paced recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic to India. "It would not have been possible without our close partner and friend."

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Published 24 September 2023, 15:00 IST

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