India at G20 Summit 2019
TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Eleven years after its creation, the Group of 20 (G-20) has emerged as an important forum of most of the world’s systemically important economies. Iran is among the very few important countries left out. India made its mark within the G-20 from its very inception with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being one of the important voices at the first three summit meetings in 2008-09. As the host of the 2022 summit, India has a stake in ensuring the continued relevance of G-20 for global policy.
The G20 Summit concluded in Japan’s Osaka Saturday after two days of hectic meetings, bilateral talks and series of dialogues between leaders of top 20 economies of the world.
On the final day of the summit, 19 countries committed to the Paris climate agreement, with the US reiterating President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the pact “because it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers”.
After Osaka, New Delhi will become part of the troika that includes the next of set of G20 chairs – Saudi Arabia (2020), Italy (2021) and India (2022).
Takeaways from the G20 Summit
- India-US Meet
- Leaders of both the countries acknowledged the breadth and depth of bilateral ties, including economic, trade, energy, defence and security, counterterrorism and space.
- They reiterated their commitment to provide strong leadership to address global challenges and build prosperity for their citizens in the decades to come.
- India on Iran: It is in India’s fundamental interest to maintain peace and stability in the region.
India’s interests in the region:
- Indian diaspora in the region
- Energy requirements
- Economic interest in the region
- India’s stand on 5G and data storage:
- On technological issues such as data storage and 5G network, India ranged itself across the divide from Japan and the U.S., and alongside leaders of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa).
- The need for framing rules on data within the WTO and not at the G-20, running counter to Japan’s initiative as the host of this year’s G-20 summit, to push for “Data Free Flow with Trust, (DFFT)”. Prime minister Modi refered data as a “new form of wealth”.
- On the issue of 5G technology, where the U.S. has demanded that countries ban Chinese telecom major Huawei’s 5G network because of its ability to spy on them, India had given no assurances to US.
- Terrorism as the biggest threat to humanity: Describing terrorism as the biggest threat to humanity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the scourge not only kills innocents but also severely affects economic development and social stability. There is a need to stop all the mediums of support to terrorism and racism.
- On Disaster Management: Modi also invited the G20 countries to join a global coalition on disaster resilience, saying disasters require quick and effective remedial measures as they invariably affect the poor the most.
- 19 countries vow support to Paris agreement: In the final communique at the G20, world leaders vowed to tackle climate change, which is showing its impact globally with rising temperatures and ever-changing weather patterns. Japan has pushed for the Osaka summit to become a landmark for progress on environmental issues, including tackling the global problem of plastic waste and recommitting to efforts to counter climate change.
- Tackling ocean plastic waste
- Group of 20 Environment Ministers agreed to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste on a global scale.
- One of the top issues was ocean plastic waste as images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have sparked outrage with many countries banning plastic bags outright.
- The new framework is aimed at facilitating further concrete action on marine waste, though on a voluntary basis, after the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany adopted the “G20 action plan on marine litter” in 2017.
- Life-cycle approach
- Under the new framework, G20 members will promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans through various measures and international cooperation.
- They will also share best practices, promote innovation and boost scientific monitoring and analytical methodologies.
- US-China trade talks dominate Summit: Trump said he would not lift existing import tariffs but would refrain from slapping new levies on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods – which would have effectively extended tariffs to everything China exports to America.
- China warns of ‘severe threats’ to global order: China also held a meeting with three African leaders and said protectionism and “bullying” were threatening the world order
- Three major challenges highlighted at the Summit
- Instability and downfall in the global economy. Unilateralism and competitiveness are overshadowing the rule-based multilateral global trade systems.
- The second challenge is to make development sustainable and all-inclusive.
- Terrorism is the third major challenge.
With Saudi Arabia hosting the next G-20 in 2020, followed by Italy in 2021, all eyes will soon turn to the agenda India plans to highlight when it holds the G-20 summit in 2022. Many global challenges, such as climate change and its impact, the balance between the needs for speed and national security with 5G networks being introduced, as well as technology-driven terrorism, will become even more critical for the grouping, and the government must articulate its line. India should lead the exercise in making the G-20 more effective in dealing with some of the inequities in its system. The G-20 is an important platform to discuss pressing issues, and it must not be detracted from its original purpose of promoting sustainable growth and financial stability by grandstanding by one or two members.
Brief on G20
G20: The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union. It was founded in 1999 with the aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.
India: Member of G20
Other members: The G20, short for “Group of 20”, is made up of 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the European Union. Spain is a permanent guest and always participates in the G20 summits.
Together, the G20 members represent –
- Two thirds of the world population.
- 85% of the global gross product.
- 75% of international trade.
- 80% of global investments in research and development.
Because the G-20 is a forum, its agreements or decisions have no legal impact, but they do influence countries’ policies and global cooperation.
Why was the G20 created?
The G20 was conceived in 1999, while the repercussions of the Asian financial crisis of 1997 still lasted. The committee’s inaugural meeting took place in Berlin in December 1999.
- In a meeting of finance ministers and presidents of central banks of the G7, it was decided to expand the group and make it more representative in order to generate policies that have an impact In the economy.
- They decided to invite a group of key emerging economies to a new forum of finance ministers and presidents of Central Banks, which would later become the G20.
- With the start of the global financial crisis of 2008, the G20 became the main instrument to face the debacle. And for that it was essential to involve the highest ranking officials. Thereafter, presidents and heads of state joined the G20.
India will chair the G20 in 2022 for the first time; coinciding with the country’s 75th anniversary of Independence.
The G20 Troika: Every year, when a new country assumes the presidency (Argentina in 2018), it works hand in hand with the previous presidency (Germany) and the next presidency (Japan) in what is known as the troika. This ensures continuity in the group’s agenda.
Where is the G20 headquarters?
The G20 does not have permanent offices or employees. The country that presides over the group (in a year) takes care of all the organization and the logistical coordination of the meetings.
Connecting the Dots:
- What is mandate of G20? How does it help India to achieve its bilateral objectives? Discuss.
- Is G20 really what the world really needs? Or is this merely a club where leaders meet annually to issue insipid and irrelevant communiqués? Examine