Opportunities and Challenges of India’s G20 Presidency – POLITICO
Mohit Anand is a professor of international business and strategy at EMLYON Business School in France.
The G20 summit that concluded in Bali last month provided the world’s major economies with a platform to hear and be heard on global issues.
The main objective of the G20 has always been to recognize the importance of collective action and inclusive collaboration between major developed countries and emerging economies around the world. And as a leading multilateral platform, it plays a strategic role in ensuring future global economic growth and prosperity, as its members account for more than 85% of global GDP, 75% of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population.
India assumed the presidency of the G20 in December and, unsurprisingly, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the recovery from COVID-19 and global economic stability will continue to be part of the major narrative for 2023. At the helm of setting the platform’s priorities, however, New Delhi now has the chance to play an important role in shaping and strengthening the global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues.
The war in Ukraine and its implications – including food and energy security – featured prominently in the Bali talks. However, as expected, no diplomatic breakthrough has been made to achieve a substantial breakthrough, despite the fact that most countries deplore Russia’s aggression, which is causing immense human suffering and exasperating existing fragilities in the world. global economy—stifling growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, increasing food and energy insecurity, and increasing risks to financial stability.
From a geopolitical point of view, this means that India could use the opportunity to leverage its historical and favorable ties with Russia and bring a more isolated Moscow to the discussion and the diplomatic roundtable of more than 200 G20 meetings to follow. He could use his platform to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, strategizing as much as possible for peace and a path to reconciliation. After all, the G20 statement that « today’s era must not be war » echoes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin from just months ago.
And while it is recognized that the G20 is not necessarily the forum for resolving security issues, it has become a leading platform for economic cooperation. These issues still have important implications for the global economy. Therefore, it is incumbent on the G20 to address these issues as much as possible, especially when the UN and other bilateral interventions have failed to defuse the conflict.
This is another way India’s role can be critical, as it can reflect on the successes and failures of the Bali summit and learn how to make this multilateral forum more relevant. And while the conflict in Ukraine, coupled with heightened geopolitical tensions due to the rise of an assertive China, will test India’s leadership and its ability to revive the credibility of the G20 in an era of otherwise waning multilateralism, New Delhi aspires to a presidency that will be « inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented. »
India is also at the center of a troika of G20 presidencies – of Indonesia, India and Brazil, respectively – all emerging economies, thus providing a greater voice for the concerns of the « South ». global » at a very crucial time. for the international community. It could be another foothold for India, bridging the gap between West and South on issues such as climate change, trade facilitation and supporting healthcare resilience.
Whether it is the climate negotiations, the negotiation of a fairer agreement in terms of technological and financial support for developing countries; at the World Trade Organization on issues related to lowering tariff and non-tariff barriers for vulnerable economies; or the World Health Organization, for a patent waiver on COVID-19 vaccines, India has championed the cause of low-income countries in the past – and now it may do so again. This time, working towards the adoption of a Sustainable Development Goal stimulus package to provide these governments with investment and liquidity, offering debt relief and restructuring.
Continuing to highlight these issues, India has identified six common priorities in areas such as public digital assets and digital infrastructure; climate action, climate finance and technology collaborations; clean, sustainable and inclusive energy transition; accelerated progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals; women-led development; and multilateral reforms.
Prime Minister Modi has also suggested that « data for development » will be an integral part of India’s presidency. Digital transformation should not be confined to a small portion of humanity, and its greatest benefits will only materialize when digital access becomes truly inclusive. India’s own experience over the past few years has shown that if digital architecture is made widely accessible, it can drive socio-economic transformation.
So, under his presidency, India will have to navigate a delicate balance, overcoming partisan pressures from both sides to bridge the East-West conflict. And it will have to do so while carefully wading through issues central to its own strategic interests as well as those of the global community, creating an archetype for substantive discussions, implementation and outcomes for the G20 next year. culminating in a Leaders Summit to be held in New Delhi in September 2023.
Defend the virtue of « Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam« – the world is a family – as the theme of the G20, India must skillfully manage this messy family over the coming year. And through this leadership role, it must prioritize a development agenda, while creating a blueprint for a faster, more resilient and inclusive global economic recovery.
The G20 Presidency gives India an unprecedented opportunity to test its influence and credibility in the fight against the fragmented world order – and now it must embrace it.