As the world grapples with post-pandemic problems, a widening digital divide, and a surge in calls for fair representation of the Global South, coupled with mounting climate concerns and developmental challenges, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the opportune time for India to lead a premier platform to address these issues through economic cooperation and geopolitical diplomacy has never been more critical.
G20, or The Group of Twenty, serves as the leading global platform for cooperation on the most pressing matters of worldwide economic and financial concerns. This is because the world's most advanced, as well as emerging economies, are gathered together. Members of the G20 comprise of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.
“Together, the G20 nations account for around 90% of the world's Economy,
80% of its trade, and 2/3 of its people.”
Its establishment was in reaction to the financial crisis that emerged in numerous emerging economies in the 1990s and growing cognizance that some of these nations were seriously under-represented in dialogues of global economic policies.
The following goals were intended to be accomplished during its foundation:
a) policy coordination among its members to achieve global economic stability and sustainable growth;
b) financial laws that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises; and
c) the creation of a new international financial architecture.
For one year, the G20 President guides the G20 agenda and hosts the Summit. The G20 operates with two tracks: the Finance Track and the Sherpa Track. The Finance Track is led by Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, while the Sherpa Track is led by personal agents of the Leaders. Within the two tracks, there are thematically focused working groups comprised of representatives from member ministries as well as invited/guest nations and different international organisations. There are other Engagement Groups, which bring together G20 civil society, legislators, think tanks, women, youth, labour, corporations, and researchers. There is no permanent secretariat for the Group. The Troika - the past, current, and upcoming Presidency - provides assistance to the Presidency. Under India's presidency, the troika will be made up of Indonesia, India, and Brazil.
India assumed the Presidency of the G20 on 1 December 2022 and declaring its theme to be "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" or "One Earth. One Family. One Future.” India's External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar made it clear at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), that major issues like the environment, debt, economic growth, food and energy security, as well as the reform of multilateral financial institutions' governance, will be "a core priority."
This is being considered a momentous turn for India and potentially the Global South as a whole rather than just the routine change of charge. The presidency comes at a time when enormous geopolitical and geo-economic stress and strain is being experienced by the globe, The Russia-Ukraine War and the post-pandemic transition being its two major examples. India is at the center of the Troika of emerging economies that are now holding the G20 presidencies of Indonesia, India, and Brazil, respectively. At a pivotal juncture when the fundamentals are shifting quickly into a reset mode, the challenges of the "Global South" require more attention from the international community. For the first time the Troika includes three developing nations and rising economies, giving them a stronger voice. This may be another pillar for India, bridging the gap between the West and the Global South in regard to issues like assistance for robust healthcare systems, trade facilitation, and climate change.
By advocating for free and fair trade, offering technical assistance and financial resources, and encouraging inclusive economic progress, India can promote its economic potential and the interests of developing nations. As a member of the Global South, India can also advocate for reforms in international financial institutions and encourage the G20 to address issues such as climate change, sustainable development, and social inclusion by promoting increased representation and participation of poor nations in global decision-making. By using its presidency, India can forge stronger and more equitable global relationships to serve developing nations' interests and contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous world.
Finance and the Digital World
India has the chance to encourage financial collaboration and digital transformation in the Global South, which are essential for equitable and sustainable economic growth, while it serves as the G20 president. India is aware of the need of providing financial aid and transferring technologies to help underdeveloped nations advance economically. India may therefore promote increased financing access and the transfer of financial technologies to help underdeveloped countries' economies thrive. India may utilise its presidency to promote e-wallets and mobile banking, which can increase financial inclusion and make it easier for underbanked and unbanked people to engage in the formal economy and get loans.
India may also encourage the creation of a robust digital infrastructure, including rules that protect data privacy, cybersecurity, and digital literacy. India can aid in the eradication of poverty and the promotion of just economic growth in the Global South by supporting the adoption and use of digital technology. Also, India can assist in the knowledge and technology transfer from wealthy to developing nations, which is essential for inclusive and long-term economic progress.
Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations provide a key framework for fostering sustainable economic growth, eliminating poverty and inequality, and tackling global concerns such as climate change. India has a strong interest in encouraging the SDGs' implementation. As G20 president, India can utilise its position to support the implementation of the SDGs and push for policies and initiatives that benefit poor countries. Using its membership in global forums and alliances like the Global South-South Cooperation, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Bank, and the United Nations to promote renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and climate action, all of which are critical to achieving the SDGs. India may also advocate for more financial assistance and international collaboration to assist poor nations in meeting the SDGs, such as through supporting programmes to expand access to education and healthcare, promote gender equality, and alleviate poverty and hunger.
In conclusion, India's ascendance to the G20 leadership comes at a crucial time for the Global South. India's leadership has a special chance to solve a number of urgent issues, such as the digital gap, Global South representation, climate change, and energy security. With the globe facing myriad economic, environmental, and geopolitical difficulties. India has the chance to advance the interests of poor countries and foster stronger, more equitable international relations by using its presidency to push for open and fair trade policies, offer financial and technical support, advance digital financial technology boost the implementation of sustainable development goals. and encourage inclusive economic success.