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G20 Summit A Photo Opportunity – OpEd


One more G20 summit has ended, now in Germany, without paving way for any tangible improvement in the ground situation in the world for the better.


This G20 summit has been marked by protests against the G20 leadership when over 160 police officers were injured, dozens of activists hospitalized and more than seventy protestors were detained. Typically , the German Chancellor thanked the security forces for their work, as the G20 leaders met behind a heavy police presence in a no- go zone that were off limits to the protestors and most of the people.

While the German Chancellor is right in condemning the violent form of protests as unacceptable, she also should have gracefully accepted the justification for such protests , as G 20 summit has become a cosmetic show of so called world leaders from a few countries, who are not really representative of the countries all over the world. The protestors think that some countries have joined together to discuss the world issues between themselves to benefit themselves with least consideration for other developing nations. The protestors further are of the view that G20 members want to discuss issues on cross section of subjects relating to the countries who are not part of the G20 summit. For example, USA and Russia were discussing about the Syrian crisis without involving Syrian government or any people representative from Syria.

Obviously, the right forum to discuss such matters and thrash out the problems confronting the world is the United Nations Organization and not a group of countries which seem to be of the view, that they can think for the world and direct the world movement. G20 summit is an event that has inevitably undermined the importance of United Nations, though it may not be intended that way by G20 members.

One wonders how the countries participating in the G20 summit have been short listed who have organized themselves as a forum. Even between these member countries, there are high income inequality. Among G20 members, Germany recorded the lowest income inequality while South Africa registered the highest. There are considerable differences in the industrial growth and technology development between these countries. There are little common between all of them.

One is not really clear as to what the G20 summit really sought to achieve except as a get together of selected few countries for whatever purpose.


The world countries joined together and formulated a draft policy to manage the world climate issues and arrived at the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.

However, US President Trump  has now rejected the accord in one stroke and other G20 members and rest of the world remain surprised and do not know how to go about further in combating global warming issues, without participation of USA which remains as one of the significant polluters in the world.

On the issue of trade, there is agreement that there should be fair trade which is a universal expectation and not confined to G20 members alone. But, the G20 members have sought to discuss about world trade issues between themselves, unmindful of the needs and priorities of other countries who are deeply concerned about trade related issues and are not part of the G20 summit.

The decision of the summit with regard to the trade issues are unlikely to be binding on the members , as G20 summit does not have the moral authority that United Nations has. Ultimately, all G20 members would be chalking out the trade policies of individual member countries based on their own self interest, as it has been happening after several G20 summits earlier.

The world is now suffering due to terrorist activities with hundreds of innocent people losing their lives in one part of the world or the other. Many countries affected by terrorist acts could do nothing about this, as several countries themselves are suspected to be involved in encouraging terrorists directly or indirectly as part of their self centred geo political strategies.

Indian Prime Minister Modi spoke strongly against the terror groups and named a few of them. In spite of such strong speech from Mr. Modi, there was thunderous silence among other G20 members, without any tangible and coordinated action plans.

Some of the G20 members like China and India or USA and Russia have running confrontation between themselves and have mutual suspicions. Cosmetic laugh and hand shake between these members are not going to make them less hostile to each other.

At the end of the G20 summit, the leaders of the member countries will go back to their place after enjoying their retreat and world will become no better. For these G20 members, the G20 summit is one more photo opportunity.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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