The new emerging India and G20

Washington, DC: As we bid adieu to 2022, we reflect on the milestones that New Delhi has achieved, none as important as celebrating 75 years of Independence, a landmark in the country’s journey from its humble beginnings as a newly independent country to now a robust economy, the fifth largest global economic powerhouse.
The clock moves forward to 2023, and earlier on 1 December 2022, India assumed the Presidency for the G-20 summit from Indonesia. The outlook for next year has global economic headwinds as the Russia-Ukraine conflict will continue to dominate global affairs. As a result of which, we are witnessing inflationary trends, rising interest rates, and signs of recession, followed by escalating energy prices and worries about food shortage.

As I previously note, India’s G-20 Presidency propels New Delhi’s role as an emerging leader in the global scenario. India has long espoused a multilateral world order over a previously bipolar or unipolar world. New Delhi has stated that key stakeholders need to reflect on the evolution of the global economy over the past 70 years. The G-20 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

India’s leadership will give a stronger voice to the challenges the developing world faces. New Delhi’s priorities include climate action, critical and emerging technologies, resilient supply chains, and vaccines, as we are witnessing a rise in Covid cases with a new variant that has emerged in China. India’s goal will be to build an inclusive ecosystem with holistic mechanisms to address critical global issues for the private sector.

Rebuilding supply chains is a major priority since the pandemic has disrupted the global flow of goods and services. What’s evinced in the boardroom is that companies are increasingly looking for a China-plus-one strategy. Strict Covid protocols in Beijing and followed by the outbreak of a new variant have worried global investors. Furthermore, there is a conscious need to diversify global supply chains to mitigate the proverbial all eggs in one manufacturing basket scenario.

India is a fantastic prospect for global corporations looking for alternate manufacturing destinations. Having interacted with state delegations in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, there is a conscious effort by state leadership to present their respective states as robust manufacturing destinations.

Global tech giant and innovation leader, Apple is looking to make the iPhone 14 in India. This is courtesy of how the Central government focus on manufacturing in form of PLI schemes and the Make in India strategy is succeeding in wooing top American tech companies. States too, in addition to the Centre’s scheme have interesting initiatives for high-end manufacturers. As India strives to make manufacturing a robust part of its economy through schemes such as Production Linked Incentive (PLI) and Make in India, the G-20 will seek to link global economies closer, and showcase India’s ability as a viable global manufacturing destination.

Apart from manufacturing, climate action, vaccines and supply chains, New Delhi will focus on critical and emerging technologies, space cooperation, AI for good as India continues to spurt unicorns in the new engine of economic growth that it has become.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s credo has been a good governance model. New Delhi, now at the helm of G-20, has an important chance to present a clarion call for emerging economies to adopt strong governance and collaborative model on global economic issues.

The G-20 forum is an august platform to discuss global economic issues and not fraught geopolitical ones. However, New Delhi has always espoused diplomatic dialogue and has called for all sides to de-escalate the conflict. Furthermore, Brazil, the next President in 2024, and India are both part of BRICS, along with Russia. India can use its unique position between the West and Moscow and its Presidency to urge for cessation of hostilities and prioritize larger and immediate concerns in health, climate, and supply chains, all of which impact the emerging market world greatly.

Prime Minister Modi has touched on digital transformation and data for good, as India continues to build on its digital economy, one that its Presidency will advocate as key to inclusive growth for the emerging market world. India’s goals for 2023, during its G-20 Presidency, will be to jointly work with its G-20 partners towards this objective. Digital solutions will not just help in innovation for the emerging market world but will be critical in the fight against climate change and mitigate the economic gap between the haves and the have-nots, with the rise in EdTech and MedTech.

India has strong comparative advantages as an investment destination over other economies, and none more so than its demographic dividend, with a large population under 35, New Delhi will project its role as a young, thriving, robust democracy and economic powerhouse at the G-20 summit in 2023.

Mukesh Aghi is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the US- India Strategic Partnership Forum.