The G20 Summit 2023 is underway in New Delhi, India, at a time when the country is making major strides in space exploration, technology, and economy. Recently, India has become the fourth nation in the world to soft-land a rover on the Moon-Chandrayaan-3. This week, it launched its first spacecraft to explore the Sun- Aditya-L1. It also passed China to become the world’s most populous nation this year, and it passed the United Kingdom to become the fifth-largest economy.
These achievements are a testament to India’s growing scientific and technological capabilities. They also demonstrate India’s rising economic power and its increasing influence in the world. This summit represents a diplomatic milestone for New Delhi as it endeavours to bring together a fragmented world amidst the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Its theme– “One Earth, One Family, One Future”–suggests a broad agenda for collaboration. Experts believe that this summit will serve as India’s moment to shine, marking its emergence as an independent and influential voice on the global stage.
Here are some specific ways in which India can use the G20 summit to extend its leadership and polish its credentials on the world stage:
The 18th G20 Summit is a major opportunity for India to showcase its leadership on the world stage. As the host of this year’s summit, India has a chance to set the agenda and shape the discussions on key global issues. Indeed, this is a chance for India to demonstrate its commitment to multilateralism and its willingness to work with other countries to address common challenges. The summit is also an opportunity for India to strengthen its ties with other G20 members. These countries are major economic and political players, and India needs to build strong relationships with them to promote global peace and security. The summit is a major opportunity for India to raise its profile on the world stage. By seizing this opportunity, India can strengthen its leadership and play a more active role in shaping the global agenda. India may use the summit as a forum to debate on trade, investments, climate change, and other topics of shared concern. India can showcase its geopolitical strength during the summit. India is becoming more and more influential in the world as a growing power. India may use the summit to demonstrate to the rest of the world that it is a serious and significant actor in global politics.
India can propose initiatives to address global challenges such as climate change, food security, and poverty. The G20 is the most important forum to achieve this. India can hold the sensitive task of ensuring that even in a carnival-like atmosphere, issues like the Ukraine war do not derail its ambitions, as was deeply felt during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last year. Although differences are visible. India would hope that the focus should be on consensual issues rather than discussing divisive issues like Ukraine. India has not been able to do this till now, but now it would like to look better.
It has to work with other countries to find common ground and build consensus. After assuming the presidency of the G20, India said that it wanted to put on the agenda of the summit the issues that disproportionately affect developing countries, such as climate change, the increasing debt burden of developing countries, digital transformation, rising inflation, and food and energy security. This summit is taking place at a time when the Global South has succeeded in establishing itself as a major stakeholder in the international system.
Additionally, India can use the summit as a platform to promote India’s economic and social development. As one of the world’s leading economies, India also feels that it has both the capacity and the means to achieve this. But trying to become a bridge between developed and developing countries will not be easy for India, which is in a geopolitically delicate situation. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has invested heavily in organising the G20 summit. He would like to show that he is capable of strengthening India’s position in the world, especially ahead of next year’s general elections.
Moreover, it highlights India’s commitment to multilateralism and its willingness to work with other countries. India has to build strong relationships with other G20 members. This was visible during the Corona epidemic, when India helped even Africa, South Asia, and China, while the Western countries remained absorbed only in their own worries. The message to the population and the Global South is that we are with you. We are ready to lead from the front. The message to the international community is that you cannot ignore the concerns coming from this part of the world under India’s leadership. The proposal to include the African Union in the G20 is a reflection of India’s desire to support developing countries.
Will the Ukraine issue dominate the summit also? Despite the Ukraine conflict taking centre at Bali Summit in Indonesia, India has focused on addressing issues that directly affect developing countries, including food and fuel insecurity, rising inflation, debt concerns, and reforms within multilateral development banks. At the same time, Western countries have realised that their exclusive club alone cannot solve the problems of the entire world. Amid rising inequality, high food and oil prices, and climate change, many countries are now questioning the relevance of a Western-dominated forum like the G-20. They claim that it is based on the old global distribution of power.
Finally, India’s G20 presidency is an opportunity for the country to promote its development model and elevate the voices of emerging economies. The theme of the presidency, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, reflects India’s commitment to multilateralism and sustainable development. India has traditionally been a non-interventionist country, but under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country has become more active in global affairs. Modi has made it a priority to strengthen India’s ties with other developing countries, and he sees the G20 as an important platform for promoting South-South cooperation.
India, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, is looking ambitious; the Prime Minister cares about his image at the world level. He has established himself as a global politician. A big and successful G-20 show will further enhance his image. On the other hand, even though this summit has been disturbed by the Ukraine issue, people will see it as an event that will increase India’s international stature. Now it is official: India has proposed the African Union’s membership in the G20 at this meeting. The African Union, comprising 55 nations, would further amplify the voices of emerging countries and the global south in the G20 forum. The G20 summit offers India a valuable opportunity to demonstrate its strong partnership with the Global South, highlighting its dedication to multilateralism and solidifying its position as a key player in international politics.