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G20 presidency will showcase India to the world

India will host over 200 meetings in about 50 cities across 32 different work streams
Last Updated 19 January 2023, 10:20 IST

India’s G20 presidency has evoked considerable interest as it comes when the world is passing through the Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, and an economic slowdown threatening recession.

Given India’s close relations with both the developed and developing countries, and its record of strategic independence, there is considerable hope that India would be able to bridge the East-West and the North-South divides, and bring the whole world together as per its G20 motto of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’.

The G20 was established in 1999, in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, to promote dialogue among the finance ministers and central bankers of the world’s 20 biggest established and emerging economies on averting future financial crises, modernise international financial architecture, promote economic stability, and sustainable growth. It was raised to the heads of state/government level in 2008 to address the global financial crisis that year. The G20 members represent about 85 per cent of the global GDP, 75 per cent of trade, and two-third of the world’s population. The presidency of such a prominent group is a matter of great pride for India.

Two Parallel Tracks

The G20 presidency steers the agenda for one year, hosts the summit and works on two parallel tracks: the Finance Track led by finance ministers and central bank governors and the sherpa (personal representative of each head of state/government) leading the Sherpa Track. The Sherpa Track oversees the inputs from 13 thematic (like trade and investment, employment, digital economy, education, tourism, etc.) working groups, two Initiatives on innovation and empowerment and various groups which meet throughout the year and develop their outcome documents, which eventually help in negotiation of the Leaders’ Declaration by the Summit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed that India’s presidency would be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive. India’s G20 priorities include accelerated, inclusive and resilient growth, accelerating progress on sustainable development goals, technological transformation, digital public infrastructure, green development, strengthening multilateral institutions for the 21st century, and women-led development. India would like to adequately reflect the priorities and perspectives of the developing countries and to get their views, it organised a virtual Voice of the South Summit on January 12-13.

Pan-India Meetings

India’s G20 presidency will not be Delhi-centric, but one which is celebrated across India. There is tremendous curiosity and interest in the world about a rising India, which is now the fifth biggest economy, and will occupy the third place in about five years. When the G20 delegates travel to various parts of India, they would experience India’s rich diversity and cultural heritage. Similarly, India’s own citizens too will develop a holistic appreciation of the world, its challenges and opportunities.

India will host over 200 meetings in about 50 cities across 32 different work streams. The first meeting of the G20 sherpas was held at Udaipur on December 5, on technological transformation and green development. Pune hosted the First Infrastructure Working Group meeting on January 16-17, Thiruvananthapuram is currently hosting the first Health Working Group, and Chandigarh will host the first meeting on Finance, Food and Energy Security on January 30-31.

Similarly, there are plans to hold the Education Working Group meeting at Chennai, Sustainable Finance Working Group in Guwahati, and Employment Working Group at Jodhpur in February.

Showcase India

The G20 delegates participating in these meetings will be mostly senior officials and domain experts. The state governments, various institutions, and organisations will have a great opportunity to apprise them about their progress, future projects, new policies, and initiatives being considered. India’s use of digital technologies to improve the ease of doing business, financial inclusion, banking, e-commerce, delivery of government services, and empowerment of women would be of considerable interest to them.

Several cities such as Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Gurugram, among others have emerged as hubs of knowledge industries such as information, bio and financial technologies. Similarly, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and the National Capital Region of Delhi are the front-runners in setting up startups and innovation industries. The states could take initiatives to familiarise the G20 delegates of their current work, new projects and policies to attract foreign investment, sharing of technologies, and exploring new markets.

The IITs and the IIITs have done excellent work in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, data services, cyber security, data analytics and other fields which would be of interest to foreign delegates. Similarly, India’s vaccination programme utilising its own vaccines, administering about 2.20 billion doses to its citizens and exporting 15 million doses to 96 countries has been a great success story, and is of interest to the world.

The G20 presidency will also be an occasion for India to showcase its ancient civilisation, vibrant democracy, and culture diversity. There will be considerable interest among the delegates in visiting places of tourism interest. The success of India’s G20 presidency will require the co-operation and active participation of all its citizens in this truly national endeavour.

(Yogesh Gupta is a former Ambassador.)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author's own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of DH.

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(Published 19 January 2023, 08:41 IST)

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