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India’s G20 summit: A call for peace, prosperity & global cooperation

The recently concluded G20 summit in India was successful for a number of reasons, writes Dr Mukesh Aghi.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi greets mediapersons at the International Media Centre in New Delhi following the conclusion of the G20 summit on September 10, 2023. (ANI Photo/Ishant)

By: Dr Mukesh Aghi

THE recently concluded G20 Summit 2023 under India’s presidency showcased the art of diplomatic dexterity and a shared commitment to forging a more equitable world. Given the tensions surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pundits and the media consensus prior to the summit veered towards summit leaders unable to deliver a joint communique.

However, against the tide, the leaders of the G20 nations and their respective delegations adopted a resolution and delivered a resounding message at the end of the first day. Their message was clear and one that resonated with the collective aspiration for peace and prosperity across the world.

India G20 summit New Delhi
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi delivers his remarks at Session 1 on ‘One Earth’ during the G20 summit, in New Delhi on Saturday, September 9, 2023, with the nameplate ‘Bharat’ in front. Indian national security advisor Ajit Doval is seen in the back. (ANI Photo)

Prime minister Narendra Modi rightly emphasised that it is time to address the “global trust deficit” and work diligently to bridge the divide between developed economies and the Global South.

Dr Mukesh Aghi
Dr Mukesh Aghi (Picture: Mukesh Aghi X account)

The G20 summit of 2023 recognised the critical issues of food and energy security and the pressing need to address debt vulnerabilities in low and middle-income countries – a testament to our collective efforts to strengthen and reform multilateral institutions and recalibrate the institution’s workings where the Global South has a louder voice in global development projects.

In the backdrop of scorching summer months and increasing climate concerns, a clarion call to action was made to combat climate change. The summit underscored the necessity of effective climate financing as we transition to a green economy, with renewables at the forefront of our energy sources.

India hosts G20 summit in Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes US President Joe Biden upon his arrival to pay respects at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat on the final day of the G20 Summit, in New Delhi, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. (PTI Photo)

India’s presidency acted as a unified voice for emerging economies and the Global South, welcoming African nations as permanent members of the G20 forum and advocating for more accessible loans to support developing economies in their quest for global economic parity.

Recognising the pivotal role of women in our economies, New Delhi’s presidency placed a spotlight on “Nari Shakti”(women power) and the empowerment of women as central to economic progress.

This acknowledgment underscores the importance of gender equality in our journey towards prosperity. Recently, the government in New Delhi undertook a major step by passing the women’s reservation bill, a landmark bill that was passed by both houses of parliament and will reserve one-third of seats in national and state assemblies for women.

India hosts G20 summit
World Bank president Ajay Banga with his wife Ritu Banga arrives at Bharat Mandapam for G20 dinner, received by President Droupadi Murmu and prime minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on September 9, 2023. (ANI Photo)

The Indian government and Modi recognise that gender equality and increased representation are critical to India’s economic growth and hence it behooves to have more women at the highest echelons of decision-making bodies, as India makes a concerted effort to achieve gender parity and egalitarianism.

In the realm of economic progress, the establishment of the India-Middle East-European Corridor (IMEEC) at the G20 Summit stands as a commendable achievement and an economic bridge between South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, along with American involvement.

The IMEEC corridor opens new trade routes and creates transportation networks that will enhance digital connectivity and create new synergies in clean energy, helping the traditional Gulf countries find alternate forms of energy.

The IMEEC corridor signifies a commitment to an open and transparent approach to international trade and creating new frontiers of trust, as opposed to the nebulousness of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The joint statement by both US president Joe Biden and Modi during the historic summit accentuated the unwavering commitment of both Washington and New Delhi to strengthen bilateral ties and deepen the robust partnership between two of the world’s leading democracies.

Building on the momentum from the historic state visit in June, the joint statement reflected the significance of the US-India Major Defense Partnership. It further underscores the expanded cooperation in new and emerging domains such as space and artificial intelligence, accelerating defense-industrial collaboration.

The US and India’s collaborative efforts in clean energy diversification, connecting defence industrial ecosystems, ensuring secure and trusted telecommunications, fortifying resilient supply chains, fostering cooperation in biotechnology and promoting global digital inclusion are vital, as we seek to uplift emerging economies.

India hosts G20 summit in Delhi
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, US president Joe Biden (to hos right), Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva (to Modi’s left), World Bank president Ajay Banga (third from left) and other dignitaries during the G20 Leaders’ Summit, at the Bharat Mandapam, Pragati Maidan, in New Delhi on Saturday, September 9, 2023. (ANI Photo)

Post the G20, the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) foreign minister’s meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City further underscored the need to safeguard a free and open Indo-Pacific region, emphasizing the importance of stability and cooperation in this crucial part of the world.

In conclusion, the G20 summit of 2023, led by India, has set the stage for a world that seeks peace, prosperity, and cooperation. It has highlighted the pressing challenges we face, from climate change to economic disparities, and has articulated a shared vision for addressing them.

The joint commitment of the US and India further strengthens the bonds of friendship between our two nations, symbolising hope, and progress in an increasingly interconnected world.

Dr. Mukesh Aghi is the president & chief executive officer of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum.

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