Sanjay Verma, secretary (west), Indian ministry of external affairs, speaks at the G77 Plus China summit in Havana, Cuba. (Picture: X account Sanjay Verma/@SanjayVermalFS)
AFTER successfully hosting the 18th G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9 and 10, the Narendra Modi government tried to reinforce India’s commitment to the Global South by taking part in the G7 Plus China summit in Havana, Cuba, this weekend.
The south Asian nation called upon the bloc to speak in one voice at the United Nations on issues related to economy and development.
While Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar could not travel to Cuba to lead the Indian delegation due to a special parliamentary session beginning on Monday (18), the country was represented at the event by Sanjay Verma, secretary (west) of the external affairs ministry.
On the occasion, he highlighted India’s initiative at G20 to bring issues of the Global South to the mainstream.
The G77, which has 134 countries as its members, including India, is the biggest intergovernmental group of developing nations that highlight issues such as inequality, sustainable development and eradication of poverty.
The grouping is known as G77 Plus China since the Asian nation works closely with the group but doesn’t officially consider itself as its member. It was represented at the summit by Li Xi, secretary of China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. About 30 heads of state and government from Asia, Latin America and Africa were present at the summit.
“G77 should focus on its core mandate and not get distracted by bilateral politica conflicts,” Verma was quoted as saying by Times of India. The Indian diplomat also suggested change of the group’s name to reflect the actual number of its members. The group had 77 members when it was set up in the mid-1960s.
Verma, who condoled the deaths of several thousands in the recent earthquake in Morocco and flooding in Libya respectively, said at the Havana summit that India had shown at the recently held G20 summit that when there is a political will, reforms of multilateralism are feasible. His remarks at the event also sought to address developmental changes through effective deployment of science, technology and innovation.
“We take great pride in our presidency, as Africa — represented by the African Union — for the first time now, deservedly sits at the high table of a global body, like the G20,” he was quoted as saying by the news report.
He also praised prime minister Narendra Modi saying the latter confirmed the representation of the developing world by fulfilling his promise to Africa.
The AU became a full-fledged member of the G20 at the New Delhi summit.