Uploaded on December 16, 2022
An Extraordinary Presidency
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
G20, a strategic intergovernmental forum, was established in 1999 as a response to the financial crisis of the 1990s. Comprising of 20 members (19 countries and the European Union) that constitute the world’s 85 per cent share of the GDP and 60 per cent of the world population, the main objective of G20 is to deal with the pressing global economic and geopolitical issues. G20 members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The members meet annually to deliberate on achieving economic stability and delve into other critical challenges faced by the member countries and their impact on the global economy.
On December 2022, India took charge of the presidency of G20, which will continue till November 2023. This historic moment comes with a huge responsibility for India, which puts India in the position of a global leader. For this year’s tenure, PM Modi has promised India’s presidency to be “inclusive, ambitious, decisive, and action-oriented.” We hope India stand focused on the objectives set for the year 2023 and comes up with action-driven solutions. The upcoming year will bring a number of existing unresolved issues and even more aggressive economic, climatic, and strategic crises for India. The looming fear of global recession, COVID-19 accelerated economic disparity, global inflation, fiscal deficit, the Ukraine war, etc., are some of the hurdles before India in its path of bringing holistic global economic stability. All of us are aware of the havoc created by the pandemic and its consequences that the world at large is still facing. The inequality triggered by COVID-19 needs urgent attention of the leaders of the G-20.
Amid this chaotic time, this opportunity is providing India with a silver lining with the G20 presidency. Since the members are a mix of developed and developing countries, bringing each to a consensus for the overall development for the greater good could prove to be game-changing, especially for developing countries. This year, India made it clear that it will voice the concerns of the “Global South”. This opportunity could be used to highlight the issue of the debt crisis of low and middle-income group nations; proposing restructuring lending/borrowing rates of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could be a way to challenge the issue.
It is well known that no one area exists in isolation; for instance, when we discuss the global economy, one cannot ignore the discourse of geopolitics and climate change. If we look at one of the most serious contemporary issue—the Ukraine war, which is causing human rights violations and worsening the global economy, we know that it is not just a security issue. The ongoing war is also adding to the existing financial risks as global inflation, supply chains, GDP growth, food insecurity, and fiscal deficit are disrupted. Therefore, there is a need to focus on finding the solution to deescalate the Russian invasion of Ukraine and develop a roadmap to focus on holistic development and growth, international peace and security and climate crisis and sustainability.
Also, climate change is getting to us faster than we’d hoped. Presently, some of India’s top-tier cities fall among the most polluted ones in the world with hazardous air quality index, which is making it difficult for people to even breathe freely. An extensive plan of action is needed to tackle the deteriorating climate change.
With the motto of “One Earth, One Family, One Future, India is highlighting the idea of inclusiveness, oneness and unity to resolve global issues. This approach is not just appreciated but also encouraged to be practised within the country. In the past few years, India has seen a crackdown on the marginalised sections, leading to violence and disharmony among the communities. It is, therefore, advisable to be at least consistent in their approach and ensure that each citizen is treated with equal respect and dignity. The principles of equality, justice, liberty, and fraternity laid in the Indian constitution should be highlighted and practised at local, national and international forums.
The G20 presidency presents India on a global pedestal where each step taken by the nation will be scrutinized more than ever. Hence, it is encouraged to represent the essence of India on the global platform. The gift of diversity and brotherhood from our visionary nation-builders should be celebrated and accepted with an open heart with an abundance of scope for socio-economic and political synchronization. The spirit of the Indian constitution is needed to be followed without any bias and discrimination in its path to be a global power. The G20 presidency will give a voice to India to put forward its concerns about India’s foreign policy on the global forum. Thus, it is pertinent to act on the goals set for the forthcoming term effectively. This opportunity should be utilised carefully to achieve a consensus on matters affecting the welfare of the entire humanity. As Indians, we hope that India’s presidency of G-20 sets a precedent for others in terms of working tirelessly on priority areas and setting productive resolutions to achieve the goals.