India is bringing a new voice and a unique emphasis to how the leading voices in world economics, democracy and development are trying to reshape the world, an official has said.
“We have basically four priorities and they are inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth; lifestyle for environment and climate change; technology-enabled transformation, and multilateral reforms,” India’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gangadharan Balasubramanian, told PREMIUM TIMES in an exclusive interview.
India is the current president of the Group of Twenty (G20); a group of 19 countries and the European Union whose focus is global economics and development.
India’s new strategy is reflected in a series of preparatory steps it has taken as a build-up to the September grand summit of the G20.
First was the invitation of nine countries including Nigeria, who are not part of the G20.
Second, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 and 13 January 2023 held a virtual “Voice of the Global South Summit ” where leaders from the global south including Nigeria’s president spoke.
Other countries in this league are Egypt, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Netherlands, Oman, Singapore, UAE, and Spain.
That summit, according to Mr Balasubramanian, was an occasion to discuss the priorities and imperatives of developing countries, how they view the global commons and how they will like to be positioned within the global commons.
This is useful for India as it will bring all these together to the forefront at the G20 summit.
The high commissioner said developing countries are important powers whose presence and ambitions have a major role to play in deciding the concept of global commons.
Speaking on Nigeria’s invitation, he said, “India has a special relationship with Nigeria and the potential and strength of Nigeria is visible and with such a large population, it is but natural that your viewpoint will certainly have advantage which is important for everybody to understand and that this is an opportunity for both India and Nigeria and other countries who have been invited to present their viewpoint in a combined manner which will certainly be good for the G20.”
India and G20
India took over the presidency of the G20 in December 2022. The G20 summit will be held in New Delhi on 9 and 10 September 2023.
The summit will be a culmination of all the G20 processes and meetings held throughout the year among ministers, senior officials, and civil societies.
Indonesia was the previous president, India the current and Brazil the next.
“It is a unique opportunity that these three developing countries are having consecutive presidents and I am sure this will certainly help in terms of bringing other viewpoints to the table,” Mr Balasubramanian said.
The G20 was founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis as a forum for Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss global economic and financial issues.
The G20 was upgraded to the level of Heads of State/Government in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis of 2007, and, in 2009, was designated the “premier forum for international economic cooperation”.
The G20 Summit is held annually, under the leadership of a rotating presidency. The G20 initially focused largely on broad macroeconomic issues, but it has since expanded its agenda to include trade, climate change, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, climate change, and anti-corruption.
The Group of Twenty (G20) comprises 19 countries; Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union.
They represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
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