- India has the world’s attention today and perhaps is its biggest opportunity to leave its mark on the world stage.
- While India has been vocal about its rise, it is its approach towards growth that has the world’s attention.
- While China has faltered in the role of the leader of the Global South, India has continued to assert itself as a viable, straightforward and honest alternative that is trustworthy.
- There are disruptive forces, both internal and external, that will try to hamper India’s progress but it will ace this test despite all odds.
The G20 this year will be an important session in terms of understanding global events and getting around the usual business of international competition. The location happens to be in one of the most important nations in the world today; India, that is Bharat. As India gears to welcome a huge group of world leaders for this important event, it is important to understand and perhaps predict what shall be the important areas of concern and conversation alike. And given the kind of importance India has today, what does it try to gain from it as well?
Before we go about the challenges, it’s essential to know that India has already clarified that the G20 this year will focus mainly on economic and social aspects. India further stated that there would be no room for any conflict resolution-related discussion at the summit. This is an important part to highlight because, in the last G20 Summit in Bali, Ukrainian President Zelensky was allowed to broadcast his message to the summit which was used by powers-that-be as a platform to impose their agenda at the summit. This year, India has not entertained any such requests despite pressure from a few world powers. The importance of this decision will be dealt with later while we discuss India’s importance in the eyes of the world.
- Supply Chain Issues
One of the most important issues that has been clearly recognised but never completely solved. Supply chain issues have lingered since the pandemic started in 2020 and have never been solved to this point. China’s methods of handling its covid policy and frankly, its handling of its problem have impacted the manufacturing process in the world. Therefore, the G20 has to decide and discuss alternatives to reduce their dependency on China to other nations that may balance in terms of reducing this global shock that came. The phenomenon is also called the ‘China plus’ strategy. This will be a topic of discussion since the new map released by China has irked not just India and several Southeast Asian nations but Russia as well. Hence many countries are motivated to diversify manufacturing and work towards alternate sources for the supply chain.
- Climate Change
There has never been a summit without climate change and this year has been no different. Multiple incidents of heatwaves across the world and the most recent wildfire in Hawaii have perhaps made it an imperative issue of concern. The meeting of environmental and climate ministers in Chennai brought up both important points as well as some drawbacks around the supposed agreement on various issues. Carbon Emissions as per Paris Agreement goals were discussed and considered an important part of the summit. The lack of admitting responsibility for emissions in the past is a constant problem that the G20 will face and try to get a consensus on.
- Membership of African Countries
Africa since 2020 has seen several coups as well as terrorism that has severely dented its economic growth. Despite the end of colonialism, Africa does not have enough representation in international organizations and is often made to feel undervalued. India for its part is advocating the membership of the African Union as well as individual membership for countries like Nigeria etc. Moreover, the grain deal and its subsequent suspension had difficult ramifications for everyone, especially Africa. Hence the G20 summit this year will create more opportunities for the African continent and will be a platform to voice their concerns as well as increase the representation of the Global South.
- A Summit Sans Ukraine
There is no denying that the war in Ukraine is a cause for concern for the world. But there have been efforts to sidetrack many meetings over this particular issue. India on its own has already clarified that the G20 will not be a platform for Conflict resolution because the United Nations as well as other groups exist for such aspects. Most experts, however, do expect that there is going to be a discussion around it and as each summit requires a declaration, the negotiations over the Ukraine war will be complex. Being the chair of the committee, India will have to prepare for needless disruption around those who ally with or even against Ukraine.
India and its Aspirations
India has the world’s attention today and perhaps is its biggest opportunity to leave its mark on the world stage. While India has been vocal about its rise, it is its approach towards growth that has the world’s attention. Be it the way it has engaged with both America and Russia or the calls for reform in the United Nations, India has not been shy of furthering its interests at all international forums. It is due to this change in its understanding and approach, that India has been trusted by almost all actors today, barring a few.
However, this is a test for India as well to project itself as a potential superpower of the future. In most cases, it’s the perception of the countries involved in such events that helps change that perception. There are disruptive forces, both internal and external, that will try to hamper India’s progress and it has already got a taste of it from China. Nevertheless, India has played its cards well and will ace this test despite all odds. The benefits of facing such challenges have been fruitful in political, social, economic and strategic aspects.
With the general elections next year, the basis of India’s democratic credentials must match its process of diplomatic engagement as well. So far, India has been quite successful in this and continues to work in that spirit for a more extensive representation of the Global South. While China has faltered in this role, India has continued to assert itself as a viable, straightforward and honest alternative that is trustworthy.
(Anhad Jakhmola is a postgraduate scholar in international relations. He has his undergraduate degree in history and is pursuing his Ph.D. in Defence and Strategic Studies. He is a columnist for many portals and is a keen public speaker in debates and discussions. Views expressed are author’s own)