- India’s active role in securing the African Union’s rightful place in the G20 serves as a poignant reminder that, with vision and unwavering commitment, nations can indeed reshape the global order and carve a brighter, more inclusive future.
- In the intricate and complex arena of global diplomacy, India’s monumental feat transcends mere geopolitics as it symbolizes a resolute commitment to rectifying historical imbalances and championing the voices of the long under-represented.
- India’s dedication extends beyond rhetoric, shaping policies and initiatives that reflect the shared dreams of nations striving for sustainable development and a more balanced global order.
African Union, the continent’s regional grouping, received permanent membership in the G20 while India was the G20’s chairman, making it the second regional bloc after the EU to do so. African Union joined the meeting on the first day. For the African continent, which lacks political and economic representation, this was a moment to remember. Additionally, this would provide the Global South a tremendous boost and enable it to further amplify its voice.
Necessity for Including the African Union
It was with the aspiration of equitable and inclusive representation that India went into the G20, seeking the voice and support for the Global South. The key goal of India’s G20 Presidency was engaging with and becoming the voice of the Global South. The “Hearing the Global South virtual meet” in January this year was made possible by India’s approach. India successfully weighed its options with pragmatism against the G20’s needs.
The addition of the African Union was necessary for exactly this reason. The G20 lacked representation from the Global South, and India recognised that it is difficult to win over Africa without providing infrastructure, industries, agriculture, and anti-terrorism. Thanks to the presence of Moscow, Beijing and the West in the past, as well as a changing geopolitical environment, ensured that Africa never outgrew its problems. The recent troubles in the Sahel and the continuous coups as seen in Niger and Gabon recently is a testimony to this. In such a situation, aiding and winning Africa through diplomatic means was India’s best option. Additionally, accomplishing it during this G20 would reinforce India’s vision and mission.
Advantages of the African Union in G20
1) Supports the G20’s balance of power – Lately, there’s been an effort from Western countries to influence the G20 agenda, as evident in the 2022 Bali G20 meeting, where they focused on issues benefiting their own interests. This has significant implications for the Global South, where their interests and problems were ignored. However, with the African Union joining the group, it’s anticipated that the forum will become more equitable and fair.
2) Enables India to enhance relations with Africa – India’s entwined narrative with Africa unfolds as a symmetry of increasing diplomatic, economic, and cultural connections. Through the coordination of trade, investments, and developmental alliances, India’s footprint in Africa continues to expand. This partnership between India and Africa seeks to elevate cooperation across diverse realms – from trade and agriculture to the realms of healthcare and education, showcasing the unity between the two diverse yet harmonizing regions.
3) India takes centre stage in the Global South – India, with its resolute stride and unwavering commitment, stands tall as a beacon of leadership within the constellation of the Global South. In this pivotal role, India assumes the mantle of a staunch advocate, tirelessly championing the interests and aspirations of developing nations worldwide.
Within the hallowed chambers of international forums such as BRICS and the G77, India takes centre stage, fervently addressing the singular challenges faced by nations in the Global South. This dedication extends beyond rhetoric, shaping policies and initiatives that reflect the shared dreams of nations striving for sustainable development and a more balanced global order. In doing so, India etches its indelible mark as a leader, not just in words, but in deeds, illuminating a path towards a brighter future for the Global South.
4) Increased expectations for other nations from India – African Union inclusion under India’s chairmanship had raised the expectations of other countries to be the part of global community under India’s leadership.
5) Highlights the Difference between previous G20s – India’s G20 efforts this year have resulted in a record number of achievements for the Global South and inclusive representation in the summit year. This is in contrast to the earlier G20 summits which failed to achieve similar success for the under-represented.
India’s Remarkable Achievement
India’s successful efforts to ensure permanent membership for the African Union in the G20 was a significant moment for both Africa and the Global South. This diplomatic achievement addressed the issue of under-representation and showcased India’s growing influence in international affairs. India’s pragmatic approach, which emphasized diplomacy and adapted to changing geopolitics, underscored its commitment to strengthening its relationship with Africa. Further, India’s active role in the African Union’s inclusion in the G20 emphasizes the importance of diplomacy in building a more inclusive and equitable world order.
In the intricate and complex arena of global diplomacy, India’s remarkable achievement in securing permanent membership for the African Union within the G20, while concurrently holding the chairmanship, emerges as a beacon of transformative progress. This monumental feat transcends mere geopolitics; it symbolizes a resolute commitment to rectifying historical imbalances and championing the voices of the long-underrepresented. What further sets this achievement apart is its profound impact on the power dynamics within the G20. It heralds a new era of fairness and equity within the forum, pushing it toward a more balanced platform for addressing the world’s most pressing issues.
As we reflect upon India’s G20 legacy, it becomes abundantly clear that this historic moment will forever echo through the corridors of history. It stands as an enduring testament to the potential of diplomacy in shaping a world that values justice, equity, and unity. India’s active role in securing the African Union’s rightful place within the G20 serves as a poignant reminder that, with vision and unwavering commitment, nations can indeed reshape the global order and carve a brighter, more inclusive future.
(The author is a post-graduate student in International Relations at Kalinga University, Raipur. The opinions expressed are the author’s own)