NEW DELHI: India took up the G20 presidency this month and has a crucial year coming ahead for its global ambitions. Global challenges including the war in Ukraine as well as the serious concerns posed by the aftermath of the pandemic are aspects that India's presidency predominantly would be focusing upon.
The joint effort of groupings such as the G20 has historically played an important role in laying forth concerns of the global world that have largely gone unheard of at other multilateral forums.
India, thus finds itself steering the global agenda towards concerns not only in regard to its adjoining regions but also of those in the global south.
At a panel discussion in Udaipur this month, G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said India's G20 Presidency has come at a time when the world is under political turmoil and there are challenges of geopolitical crisis in Europe, breakdown of supply chains, the situation of climate action, and poverty.
"There're challenges of geopolitical crisis in Europe, breakdown of supply chains, the crisis of climate action, poverty, inflation & slowdown of global growth. Amid such a crisis India is taking the G20 presidency, we believe every crisis is an opportunity," Kant said at the first side event of G20, 'Transforming Lives: Accelerating Implementation of SDGs - A panel discussion'.
The theme of India's presidency had earlier been revealed to be 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam -- One Earth, One Family, One Future, which illustrates India's motto of collectively responding to the immediate global challenges that face the world.
India, on its end, has been striving to concentrate its effort on various multilateral groupings that are a part of the G20 summit in an attempt to convert words into action.
For instance, the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) tri-lateral had recently agreed to reaffirm the G20's role in economic cooperation and stressed its need on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
India's presence in the tri-lateral with South Africa and Brazil presents it with the rare opportunity to jointly emphasise and steer the agendas towards a growth-oriented outlook for some of the fastest-growing developing countries; that too with the rare opportunity of all three countries expected to hold the presidency consecutively- India in 2023, Brazil in 2024, and South Africa in 2025.
Secondly, food and energy security are perhaps a major concern that faces the global south and which has more or less been exemplified by the crisis in Ukraine.
India's presidency, as emphasised by Prime Minister Modi, would seek to safeguard the global interest of those nations that finds itself in vulnerable situations.
A concentrated effort is thus expected to take place during India's presidency in securing vital food and energy supply chains especially given the times of global uncertainty.
In a similar manner, India would do well to encash upon the opportunity of utilizing its membership in QUAD to present to other member nations its collective endeavour of mitigating climate change.
The quadrilateral's Q-CHAMP (Quad Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation Package) approach is one specific domain that could be exemplified to incorporate a collective G20 response as well.
The initiative aims to build a green corridor framework comprising clean energy cooperation, strengthening clean energy supply chains, climate-smart agriculture, and reducing disaster risks through disaster and climate-resilient infrastructure amongst other initiatives.
India's effort to include a stronger emphasis on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) would too do well in reducing the annual loss of approximately USD 218 billion that the global economy faces annually.
With the CDRI (Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure) expected to play an integral part during India's presidency.
A secondary component that could also possibly be dwelled upon, would be to seek a further inclusive forum within the G20 in tune with its call for reforms in multilateral institutions such as the UN, IMF, WTO and others. With a rare opportunity to influence the perspective of the grouping, India would want to push for the inclusion of Africa's representation within the G20 by advocating the elevation of the African Union from a permanent observer to a complete member similar to the European Union's status.
This would not only inculcate the growing threats of increased Chinese investments in the continent but would also provide greater leverage to the African nations in restructuring high-debt deals with China.
The growing animosity against Chinese debt lent to developing countries comes under the backdrop of the Common Framework that was established at 2020's G20 meeting.
The framework since then has attempted to bring all major bilateral creditors together in an effort to coordinate debt relief structures against low-income countries.
However, the initiative has gained little interest due to China's lack of transparency as well as cooperation. India in specific is focused towards pushing for reforms in multilateral institutions like the IMF and World Bank to make them more attentive to developing countries, thus, also providing alternatives to such countries seeking easy financial assistance apart from Chinese funds.
However, these efforts would only bear fruits if efforts are made to include other important members in supporting such initiatives. The promises of a group incorporating varied interests from all the regions have reaped opportunities that have the potential to move power centres away from hegemonic domination to a far more distributive and multipolar global order.
The prospects of a productive and efficient inter-governmental forum, in any case, must not be ruled out in its entirety. Intergovernmental forums in the same light have the capability of playing a defining role in navigating agendas at a global platform majorly concerning the global south that has found few listeners in such arenas.
In these circumstances, India finds itself heading the diverse group through these turbulent times; times that shall be filled with layered challenges.
Yet, these challenges also pose themselves as opportunities for India; occasions that shall enable it to showcase to the world that it is well-equipped and well-prepared to lead through such obstacles. Its emphasis therefore must focus towards utilizing its unique position as a democratic setup that has by and large integrated varied interests of the developing and the under-developed world.
India's agendpropose thus should be one that proposes an inclusive and collective global effort against challenges that are only increasing from here on forth.