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India’s G20 prerogative

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As India takes on the mantle of manoeuvring world’s magnificent economies towards a common agenda of global good, the maxim of “One Earth, One Family, One Future” as the theme of G20 this year, symbolize India’s signature take on the mammoth exercise. The essence of Indian mindset is manifested from the ancient Sanskrit aphorism of ‘Vasudahaiva Kutumbakam’ meaning “the world is one family, elucidating the country’s global outlook.

While it is quite clear that India aims to harness its G20 presidency to achieve inclusive and action oriented policy decisions for the world, a parallel question that looms large in the minds of aspiring Indians is that what does the G20 chair bring to the table for India.

To begin with, along with the G20 presidency, India this year is also chairing the United Nations Security Council and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization which is a powerful institutional conglomerate of Eurasian economies. This unique exposure of chairing three of the most powerful assemblage of the world at one go will, without an iota of doubt, augment and enhance India’s status and stature in the international power calculus.

The Presidency of G20 gives a nation the opportunity to invite nations outside the G20 assemblage to take part in the dialogue  discourse. This opportunity has been aptly used by India as it has invited the UAE as a ‘guest’ for the 2023 G20 event. This is crucial as India shares important strategic relations with the UAE apart from harnessing a humongous economic opportunity in the form of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the Gulf country.

Moreover, in the wake of the increasing political bonhomie between China and Pakistan and the malicious expansion of the Chinese hegemonic aspirations through the One Road One Belt policy, extending its tentacles into Middle East and Europe, it has become inevitable for India to strike a chord with the Arab World. The balancing  act that India perform in pursing the Israel-Palestine spat is another strong reason for India to be in the good books of the Arab world.

Along with the UEA, India this year, has also invited Oman, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Mauritius, Netherlands and Spain to witness the policy -framing extravaganza. In the whole math behind these gestures, India seems to catapult the larger goal of emerging as the new power hub of the global south.

Another interesting angle that seems to bolster India’s G20 privilege is the Global diplomatic perspective. India’s global conversation today strikes chords of diplomatic friendships along varied trajectories. This modus-operandi has injected extraordinary energy into Indian diplomacy and the length and depth of India’s international engagement has pragmatically expanded. This shift in diplomatic posture is well evinced from India’s rigorous move in maintaining vibrant ties with a diverse array of global powers ranging from the power centres to the middle rungs, and from strategically important partners like the US, Australia and Japan to comparatively smaller players like Africa, Nepal, Myanmar, Fiji and Mongolia.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to more countries in just his first term than former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did in a decade. Narendra Modi happened to be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Canada in 42 years, the first to visit the UAE in 34 years, the first to visit Fiji in 33 years, the first to visit even Nepal in 17 years and the first ever to visit countries like Israel and Mongolia. It is solely due to such ‘extended-arm’ dynamics that India now demonstrates a paradigm shift from its ‘non-aligned nation’ image to a ‘multi-aligned power’ image.

It was solely on the basis of such diplomatic upper-hand that India pursued an unprecedented  diplomatic win in getting Masoor Azad designated as a ‘global terrorist’ at the United Nations Security Council. India’s increasing diplomatic weight in the UNSC, its consistent rapport with the permanent members of the P5 along with its demonstration of grace and patience in dealing with China, compelled China to remove its ‘technical hold’ over the sanction. In a nutshell, such gestures reshaped India’s image as a new adamant force against any belligerence that intends to test it audacity.

Adding another new dimension to its height as a formidable force which now seems to have an opinion, India stopped being the fence-sitter in many issues of international concern, while at the same time maintaining the balancing act of dialogue and deliberations. Very recently, the Indian Prime Minister was at the cynosure of international media attention, when on the side-lines of the Shanghai Cooperation Dialogue, he categorically made a point to the Russian Prime Minister stating “Today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on phone about this”. 

It was for the first time in the history of India’s international conversation, that a global power like Russia had to resort to a subdued acknowledgement  as the Russian strongman was seen succumbing under a sudden extraordinary pressure, having publicly cornered and called out by a lesser power. A similar stand was demonstrated by India, when at the height of tension between Israel and Hamas, India asked Israel to stop disproportionate use of force in Gaza, while at the same time striking the balance by blocking the opposition demand in Rajya Sabha for passing a resolution, condemning Israel for 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, stating “friendship with both” as the reason behind such diplomatic grace.

Thus, with India playing the prophetic role of a conscience-keeper, the nation can be seen flaunting its unique calibre of being able to talk to rival state powers with certain amount of genuine conviction. The scale of  audacity  that India today personify, can be sensed from  a recent example of its unconventional move when it chose to purchase heavily discounted oil from Russia, in defiance of intense pressure from the western countries, benefiting itself to the tune of 35000 crores. To sum up therefore ,in the wake of such renewed figure, vigour and valour, the G20 presidency will nurture more exposures for India to connect in a way the country had never experienced before.

At a juncture where India is barging ahead as the fifth largest economy of the world  and where its ranking is pushing ahead to touch the 5 trillion mark, major economies of the world have zeroed in on connecting with India. Armed with a trinity of a global success story of digital economy, a world’s largest network of financial inclusion circuit and the tag of the third largest start-up economy in the world, India is now a global favourite and is seen as a new emerging global market and a economy hotspot in global south.

This is where the G20 presidency privilege gains significance. With the kind of exposure that India can pursue in the G20, new opportunities and propositions may flock its way into the Indian economic turf .

India is also quick to sniff its opportunity in terms of becoming to food security provider to the world. The Russia Ukraine war has brought about food supply shock worldwide as atleast 26 courtries across the globe rely on Ukraine and Russia for wheat imports. Together, Russia and Ukraine export nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley. Ukraine which has earned the moniker “Breadbasket of Europe” has been facing far reaching cascading effects of the war, consequent to which the supply chain is not expected to recover in many years to come.

India, which produces around 20 % of the world Millet has tossed its coin for filling in the gap. India grabbed the opportunity to flaunt Millet as an alternative staple for the world  with an argument that Millet also brings with it a more sustainable deal as its production is associated with  less carbon footprint. It is on the Indian initiative that that the year 2023 will be celebrated as the “UN International Year of Millets “ and the G20 events in India will be presenting millet recipes to the world.

The ‘Make In India’, ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘ One District One Product’ campaigns are also bound to achieve major push with the world audience at India’s disposal in the G20 events this year.

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