By Mukesh Aghi
India has long espoused a multilateral world order where the key stakeholders need to reflect the evolution of the global economy over the past 70 years. The G20 agenda for 2023 focuses on numerous ideas and issues including climate financing, energy security, international development cooperation as well as inclusive, equitable, and sustainable growth.
Today, December 1, 2022, India formally takes over from Indonesia as G20 President.
Prime Minister Modi’s message ahead of the next G20 Summit has been that India’s Presidency will be based on the importance of equitable growth and a shared future for all.
The messaging was clear that “India’s G20 presidency is coming at a time of crisis and chaos in the world”, from the pandemic and conflicts and therefore, lotus, the national flower of the country, is its symbol projecting peace and “Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam” or “One Earth One Family One Future”.
Certainly, the G20 bloc represents the 20 most powerful economies that contribute to around 80 percent of global GDP and over 75 percent of global trade. It started in 1999 with the aim of discussing policies in order to achieve international financial stability. But it wasn’t until the financial crisis of 2008 that the forum gained ground as a vehicle to address the global financial crisis. Since then, the G20 had its greatest significance in strengthening the global financial system, promoting economic cooperation, and preventing new global financial crises. Each year the host nation brings a unique perspective and touches on key policy issues.
India should use this august platform, to state its priorities for the region and the emerging market world. New Delhi has already outlined priorities pertaining to climate action, critical and emerging technologies, resilient supply chains, and vaccines, which still remain a priority until COVID-19 has been eradicated.
As the US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pointed out in her recent visit to India, India’s G20 Presidency in the upcoming year provides an extensive opportunity to further advance the bilateral partnership and to fulfill broader goals, as Washington throws its weight behind India, in its G20 Presidency. “Friendshoring” was the key term that the Secretary stated in the latest effort toward rebuilding supply chain resilience.
India has long espoused a multilateral world order where the key stakeholders need to reflect the evolution of the global economy over the past 70 years. The G20 agenda for 2023 focuses on numerous ideas and issues including climate financing, energy security, international development cooperation as well as inclusive, equitable, and sustainable growth. New Delhi can strive towards building an inclusive ecosystem with holistic mechanisms to address key global issues for the private sector.
One of the key issues being digital transformation, as Prime Minister Modi echoed as the “most remarkable change” of this era, has been digitization- a key priority, where a digital economy is the key to inclusive growth and one that can uplift millions out of the morass of poverty.
Prime Minister Modi stated “India will work jointly with G20 partners towards this objective”, referring to digitization. The principle of ‘data for development’ will be an integral part of the overall theme of our Presidency ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future”. Furthermore, digital solutions will also be helpful in the fight against climate change, as India, like the rest of the world, turned to remote-working and paperless green offices during the pandemic.
Furthermore, this led to an uptick in digital sectors such as EdTech and MedTech. India will use the G20 platform to address joint research and development in climate finance and clean energy technologies, as India recently reiterated at COP 27 in Egypt.
As COP27 ended in Egypt, India reiterated that developing countries need independence in their choice of energy mix, to achieve sustainable development goals (SDG). India has maintained that developed countries need to take the lead in climate action.
Countries couldn’t agree to “phase down” all fossil fuels (not just coal), as India and most of the EU nations reiterated this to be included in the final decision to keep the 1.5-degree Celsius goal alive to limit global warming.
Under the wider theme of sustainability, the US and India can fulfil their bilateral goals and shared agenda under the auspices of the global G20 platform. With the present global order in a state of flux and the changing dynamics of the contemporary international system, India’s presidency assumes greater relevance, at a time when global economies are sluggish, and India is punching above its weight with nearly 7 percent economic growth.
Collective-action initiatives like the Mission LiFE movement (Lifestyle for the Environment) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi lead the way towards substantial opportunities for increasing global engagement, especially for countries in the Global South.
India’s G20 Presidency propels its role as an emerging leader in the global scenario, where New Delhi will focus on steering global engagement, growth, and development, environmental concerns, digital economy, and infrastructure in the emerging market. The leadership also gives a stronger voice to the challenges faced by the developing world as it leads the way with its increasingly growing economy.
—Mukesh Aghi is the CEO & President of US- India Strategic Partnership Forum)