Mohit Anand is Professor of Strategy and International Business at the EMLYON Business School in France.
The G20 summit that concluded in Bali last month provided the world’s major economies with a platform to listen and be heard on global issues.
The central purpose of the G20 has always been to recognize the importance of collective action and inclusive collaboration between major developed countries and emerging economies around the world. And as the leading multilateral platform, it has a strategic role in ensuring future economic growth and global prosperity, as its members account for more than 85% of world GDP, 75% of world trade and two-thirds of the world’s population.
India assumed the G20 presidency in December, and unsurprisingly, Ukraine’s ongoing conflict, recovery from COVID-19, and global economic stability will remain part of the mainstream discourse for 2023. However, while in charge of framing the priorities of the platform, New Delhi now has the opportunity to play a significant role in shaping and strengthening the global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues.
The war in Ukraine and its implications, including food and energy security, figured prominently in the Bali talks. Unsurprisingly, however, no diplomatic breakthrough was achieved to reach a substantial breakthrough, despite most countries deploring Russia’s aggression, which is causing immense human suffering and exasperating existing fragilities in the world economy: restricting growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply. chains, increasing food and energy insecurity and heightening risks to financial stability.
From a geopolitical perspective, this means that India could seize the opportunity to play on its docile, historic ties with Russia, and bring a more isolated Moscow to the roundtable discussion and diplomacy of more than 200 G20 meetings to follow. He could use his platform to address the Ukraine conflict, strategizing for peace and a path to reconciliation as much as possible. After all, the G20 statement that “the current era must not be one of war” echoes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to Russian President Vladimir Putin from just a few months ago.
And while it is recognized that the G20 is not necessarily the forum for solving security problems, it has become a leading platform for economic cooperation. Such issues still have significant consequences for the global economy. Therefore, it is incumbent on the G20 to address these issues as much as possible, particularly when the UN and other bilateral interventions have failed to defuse the conflict.
This is another way in which India’s role can be critical, as it can reflect on the successes and failures of the Bali summit and learn how to make this multilateral forum more relevant. And while the Ukraine conflict, coupled with heightened geopolitical tensions due to the rise of an assertive China, will test India’s leadership and its ability to revive the G20’s credibility in an era of declining multilateralism, New Delhi he aspires to a presidency that will be “inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented.”
India is also at the center of a troika of G20 presidencies, from Indonesia, India and Brazil respectively, all emerging economies, providing a greater voice to make the concerns of the “Global South” heard at a time when crucial. for the international community. This could be another anchor for India, bridging the gap between the West and the Global South on issues like climate change, trade facilitation and supporting healthcare resilience.
Whether it’s in the climate talks, negotiating a fairer deal in terms of technological and financial support for developing countries; at the World Trade Organization, on issues related to the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers for vulnerable economies; or at the World Health Organization, for a patent exemption on COVID-19 vaccines, India has championed the cause of low-income nations in the past, and now it could do so again. This time, working to adopt a Sustainable Development Goals stimulus package to provide these governments with investment and liquidity, offering debt relief and restructuring.
Continuing the emphasis on these themes, India has identified six shared priorities in areas including digital public goods and digital infrastructure; climate action, climate finance and technology collaborations; clean, sustainable and inclusive energy transition; accelerated progress on the sustainable development goals; women-led development; and multilateral reforms.
Prime Minister Modi also suggested that “data for development” will be an integral part of the Indian presidency. Digital transformation must not be limited to a small part of humanity, and its greatest benefits will be realized only when digital access is truly inclusive. India’s own experience in recent years has shown that if digital architecture becomes widely accessible, it can bring about socio-economic transformation.
Thus, under his presidency, India will have to navigate a delicate balance, overcoming partisan pressures from both sides to salvage the East-West conflict. And it will have to do so while carefully weighing issues central to its own strategic interests and those of the global community, creating a blueprint for substantive talks, implementation and outcomes for the G20 next year, culminating in a leaders’ summit. to be held in New Delhi in September 2023.
defend the virtue ofVasudhaiva Kutumbakam” — the world is one family — as the theme of the G20, India needs to skillfully manage this messy family in the coming year. And through this leadership role, you must prioritize a development agenda, while creating a plan for a faster, more resilient and inclusive global economic recovery.
The G20 presidency provides India with an unprecedented opportunity to prove its influence and credibility in tackling the fragmented global order, and now it must accept it.