New Delhi, India – As some of India’s most powerful heads of government travel to the Indian capital later this week to attend the summit of a deeply divided Group of 20, one question hangs over the hazy air of New Delhi: This annual meeting serves- does she still have something?
There’s no easy answer, experts say.
The G20 was established in 1999 following the Asian financial crisis as a forum for finance ministers and central bank governors to discuss global financial and economic issues.
After the global financial crisis that began in 2007, it was elevated to the rank of heads of state, and in 2009 it was designated as the “first forum for international economic cooperation”. At the time, the G20 countries agreed to spend $4 trillion to revive their and the world’s economy, reduce trade barriers and reform their financial systems.
Since then, the leaders of the G20 member countries have met every year to discuss economic and financial issues and, increasingly, broader global concerns.
In 2009, reports of an Iranian nuclear power plant project took center stage at the G20 summit. In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama officially announced their adherence to the Paris climate accord at the group’s meeting in Hangzhou, China.
More recently, the G20 has been criticized for failing to deliver a robust response to vaccine needs, including suspending patents, despite agreeing to suspend debt payments for some of the world’s poorest countries.
Analysts agree that the weight of the G20 – it accounts for 60 percent of the world’s population and more than 80 percent of global economic output – makes it a relevant platform.
But it can also be a downside, because with 19 member countries today – including competing superpowers like the United States, China and Russia – and the European Union, it increasingly faces vested interests. which are not always aligned.
“Difficult geopolitical moment”
“The G7 and the G20 are important for different reasons,” said Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center.
The Group of Seven, whose membership includes only developed countries, is smaller and therefore “more influential”, he said. However, the importance of the G20 lies in the fact that it is “more reflective of the world as a whole” since its members also include developing countries from Asia, Latin America and Africa.
That said, the G20 is going through “a very difficult geopolitical moment”, which limits its options for action, Kugelman pointed out. “Whatever the context, the United States and its allies in the same tent as China and Russia, you are going to have a lot of problems,” he said. These tensions have flared up further amid the war raging in Ukraine, now in its second year and which has divided the world.
In this context – where the United States and its allies have condemned Russia’s war on Ukraine and imposed harsh sanctions while host China India and a few other countries have not – finding common ground on other issues is much more difficult.
Indeed, through its presidency of the G20 which began in December last year and will end in November, India has struggled to reach consensus around the war in Ukraine. This has prevented him from releasing substantial outcome documents from the dozens of G20 working groups and meetings that India has hosted over the past few months.
These challenges also plagued the last G20 presidency under Indonesia. India had hoped to do better. But so far his performance has been “disappointing,” Kugelman said. The September 9-10 summit is her last chance to show that she can do something effective.
The success of this initiative, however, remains uncertain, especially since the Chinese Xi has decided to skip the annual summit for the first time. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be present neither, and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also risks letting the conclave pass.
If India fails to secure a joint statement at the end of the G20 due to divisions among members, that would also be an embarrassing first.
“The most important platform”
However, other experts like Ashok Kantha, former Indian ambassador to China, believe that the G20 remains “the most important platform for international financial and economic issues and for the development agenda”.
“There is a feeling that the concerns and feelings of countries in the South are being ignored,” Kantha said and that international organizations like the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank are rooted in the post-war era. World War II, dominated by a small number of countries.
India has attempted to highlight these concerns. At the beginning of her presidency, she organized a virtual meeting of the countries of the South in which 125 countries participated. During this meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that “three quarters of humanity live in our countries. We should also have (an) equal voice.
Many economists and some millionaires have called on the G20 to introduce a world tax on the super richciting growing inequalities.
Meanwhile, at the end of August, and just before the G20 summit, Modi proposed that the The African Union should be a full member of the bloc – South Africa is currently the continent’s only member of the G20. He described his suggestion as an example of India’s “vision of inclusion”.
“The Indian government recognizes that global governance led by the UN system has failed and that there are alternative forums, non-Western or a mixture of both, which must take on some of these responsibilities,” said analyst Happymon Jacob. in foreign policy. and Associate Professor of Disarmament Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
“The reality of our time demands that we have more forums because much of humanity is simply not represented in traditional forums and these should be heard,” Jacob added.
This situation is further aggravated by the fact that the G20, which is mainly supposed to deal with issues such as climate change, development, global governance and green technologies, among others, is embroiled in debates on global security such as the war in Ukraine.
‘The West is focused on the war between Russia and Ukraine and believes its conflict is the global conflict’, but has been absent when the South has needed help, such as with an adjustment fund climate or when Sri Lanka experienced its crisis. worst financial crisis, added Jacob.
“This exclusive focus on security does not help. The South has its issues, and they need to be heard. It is not enough to simply hear the issues that concern Americans and Europeans. It’s not sufficient.