The G-20 Summit: Achievements and Hopes for a Better World
The recently concluded G-20 summit held in New Delhi has become a major topic of discussion in global affairs forums. This inter-governmental forum includes 19 countries, the European Union, and recently, the African Union. These nations collectively makeup 85% of the world’s GDP and two-thirds of its population. The G-20 was established in 1999 in response to the Asian financial crisis of that decade and aims to create essential economic and financial policies.
Importantly, the G-20 also addresses issues like promoting gender-inclusive growth and global health through the G-20 Health Working Group, formed in 2017 to strengthen healthcare systems and tackle their socio-economic determinants with targeted public policies.
The G-20 summit took place at the Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, featuring stunning decorations, including topiaries, sculptures of animals, and tapestry motifs. These decorations celebrated the diverse national animals and birds of G-20 member countries.
While initial expectations were modest, given the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and doubts about reaching a consensus, the G-20 summit concluded with a remarkable list of achievements:
Delhi Declaration: A significant diplomatic victory for India, as the Delhi Declaration achieved unanimity with support from the United States and other member nations. The declaration emphasized the importance of protecting sovereignty, territorial integrity, and peace, highlighting the growing influence of the Global South.
African Union Membership: India’s achievement of securing permanent membership for the African Union, which comprises more than 50 countries, symbolizes a tremendous win for the post-colonial world. It recognizes the historical struggles against colonialism shared by Africa, Latin America, and India.
Ambitious Economic Corridor: An announcement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for an ambitious economic corridor connecting India, Europe, and the Middle East, with the involvement of the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Germany, and Italy, is a substantial development. This initiative aims to improve trade, export clean energy, enhance digital inclusion, and stimulate economic growth, as declared by President Joe Biden.
Bilateral Relations: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s emphasis on his Indian cultural heritage and expression of support for a deeper bilateral relationship between India and the UK was well-received. The prospect of a substantial Indo-UK trade agreement is likely.
Changing Perspectives: Notable shifts were observed among some Western commentators who previously exhibited colonial attitudes. They are now discussing multi-polarity and praising India, reflecting evolving dynamics in global affairs.
Respected Leadership: India’s External Affairs Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, earned respect from across the political spectrum for his visionary and courageous leadership.
While the G-20 summit celebrated significant diplomatic achievements, it’s essential to recognize the importance of smaller successes, especially since the larger plans face substantial challenges. This is akin to the tiny but industrious hummingbird, which, despite its small size, captures attention with vibrant colors and remarkable wing speed. Hummingbirds play a crucial role in pollinating flowers, dispersing seeds, and controlling insect populations. However, they also face threats from larger predatory birds that may attack them as a group.
India’s invitation to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as a guest for the summit, although a small gesture, reminds us of the significance of relationships with close neighbors. India’s support for Bangladesh during the 1971 liberation war, marked by a genocide and systematic rape of Bengali women, underscores the importance of trust and historical ties.
Additionally, India’s agreement to support Taiwan at the request of the United States represents a significant step forward for India-US relations. This move recognizes the plight of Tibetans and offers a different perspective on Taiwan.
Countries like India and Brazil in the Global South will continue to attract the attention of various international suitors. Hence, it is crucial to make wise decisions. The analogy of the ostrich burying its head in the sand versus the wise owl that observes closely highlights the need to diversify partnerships and not rely solely on large developmental loans from allies who may seek to exert undue influence.
Friendships in international relations are not just about agreement but also about supporting each other. Even leaders, who are supposed to serve the public good, should make just and timely decisions. Balancing global achievements with local needs for socio-economic inclusion remains a vital challenge for the Global South.
In closing, news of a unique hybrid hummingbird with glittering gold feathers found in the Peruvian Andes serves as a symbol of hope in our ever-changing world. As we move forward, we aspire for a brighter future and a golden dawn for all.