- Any global association involving more than one country tends to portend an alliance formed based on a mutually beneficial agenda that potentially can also extend to other similarly inclined countries. Of course, what drives these countries is economics and trade agreements resulting in a win-win situation for the players involved. The global community has witnessed several such groups formed over the decades helping these nations to forge ahead in terms of developments on many fronts. We know how G7, G20, the Quad, and some such alliances have emerged as a force to reckon with in the last few decades growing from strength to strength. The G20 is one such grouping that is in the news as India is taking over the presidency now.
PC: Prateek Talukdar
- Against this backdrop, the ongoing G20 leaders’ summit in Bali is of special significance to India as Indonesian President Joko Widodo will formally ask India to take over the G20 presidency. From next month, India will officially assume the presidency, host next year’s G20 meetings, and most importantly, set the agenda for the next annual leaders’ summit. In that sense, the G20 is a unique global body possessing the ability to alter the living conditions of billions. Comprising 19 countries and the EU, it represents 85% of the global GDP and 66% of the world’s population. In terms of composition, it’s well represented. Formed in 1999 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, it got its heft in 2008 when the G20 leaders’ summit was held amid the global financial crisis.
- Designed to be a flexible body, without a permanent secretariat, decisions are based on consensus. Looking back, it was most effective in 2008 and 2009, when coordination in policymaking mitigated the economic fallout of the financial crisis and also laid the platform for subsequent agreements on sharing tax data to curb tax evasion. Since then, the core goal of improving the economic policy environment has expanded to tackling climate change and terrorism, among other things. However, recent results have been disappointing. Yes, India has the opportunity to get the G20 back on track. It’s far too important a platform to be allowed to sink into irrelevance like some other global governance bodies with a permanent secretariat.
PC: Jane Drake Brockman, Manjeet Kripalani
- Given the last decade’s failures with an ever-expanding agenda, it’s best to stick to the founding aim of creating a more positive environment for the global economy. Indeed, the long-term implications of the strategic rivalry between the US and China, and the events since 2020 have cast a shadow on global trade. Dismantling protectionism was perhaps the single most important reason that more than 1 billion people globally escaped extreme poverty in the three decades before Covid. India’s G20 presidency can further contribute to preserving those gains and finding a way to build on them. A unique feature of the G20 is the rotating presidency. This is India’s moment and must make something substantive of it through its newfound heft and traction.