Worldview with Suhasini Haidar | Bali Summit | What does the G20 presidency mean for India...

Worldview with Suhasini Haidar | Bali Summit | What does the G20 presidency mean for India?

In this episode of Worldview, we bring to you the highlights of the G20 summit in Bali and the challenges and opportunities for India in the year ahead

India takes charge of the G20 process after a summit in Indonesia marked by crises and sudden consensus for a joint communique- how hard will hosting the summit next year in Delhi be?

What is the G20?

– This is a grouping of 19 countries and the European Union that sees itself as the “premier forum for global economic cooperation”-

– Began in 1999 as a sort of inclusive version of the G-7, then G-8, and upgraded from Ministerial level to Leader level summit in 2008 after the global financial collapse

– G20 doesn’t have a headquarter- the Secretariat moves from host country to host country.

– Today, G20 members account for 66% of the global population, 75% of global trade and more than 80% of world GDP.

– After Indonesia and India, the G20 will go to Brazil in 2024 and then to South Africa in 2025- marking a significant shift from the developed world to emerging economies and the global south in its leadership.


The Bali G20 was held in what the joint communique called “unparalleled multidimensional crises”

1. Devastation brought by the Covid-19 pandemic

2. Climate Change

3. Economic downturn, increased poverty, slowed global recovery and sustainable development goals

4. China US trade tensions, and then tensions over Taiwan

5. And then the war in Ukraine- which began with Russian attack on Ukraine beginning Feb 2022, and going on to capture about 100,000 sq kms of its territory, followed by Western Sanctions – which have led to geopolitical insecurity, and major issues with food and energy security 

For Indonesian President Joko Widodo countering global tensions between Russia and the West- US and EU and keeping the G20 process was the biggest challenge for most of the year-

– In March 2022, US President Biden said Russia should be expelled from the G20, much as the G-8 expelled Russia over its actions in Georgia and then Crimea

– In April, Half the G20’s Finance Ministers walked out of a meeting at the IMF in protest against Russia

– In July, Western Foreign Ministers boycotted a reception with Russian FM Lavrov in it and Lavrov walked out of 2 sessions.

Given the backdrop the Bali G20 came away with several achievements and highlights- particularly for India

1. A Joint Communique- deep differences over the language on Ukraine. Russia agreed to the statement, but FM Lavrov left before it was adopted, given the harsh language that said “Most countries strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy – constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks.” but also added that UN resolutions had deplored Russian actions, and acknowldeged there were different views within the G20. PM Modi’s words to Mr. Putin that “This Era is not of War” was included in the G20 language.

2. Crisis management- On the first night of the G20, Russia launched dozens of missiles on different town in Ukraine. Ukraine defence systems tried to retaliate, and one missile landed in Poland killing 2 people- this kept NATO and G7 leaders up all night working the phones, and on the next morning they held a special meeting to address the situation, and also to ease fears of a NATO counterstrike.

3. Meeting between Biden-Xi -they resolved to cooperate on resolving global issues, agreed to keep the dialogue going, and take talks forward with a Blinken visit to Beijing. This was their first meeting since Biden became President, and comes a few weeks after Xi Jinping won another term at the Party Congress.

4.PM Modi held several meetings- his first with UK PM Rishi Sunak and Italian PM Giorgia Meloni- he also held talks with the leaders of Australia, Singapore, Germany- and informal interactions with US President Biden, Indonesian President Widodo and Spanish President Sanchez

5. Then there was this moment that saw Prime Minister Modi go up to Xi Jinping at the G20 banquet- quite dramatic, given that the two leaders haven’t spoken once since April 2020 military standoff at the LAC and only 2 months ago had refused to even make eye contact at the SCO in Samarkand- the MEA played down the talks, but the easy bonhomie between the two leaders who met 18 times before 2020, was hard to miss.

6. Continuity of purpose- for Emerging economies, the bigger worries of food and energy security, climate change, health and the digital divide prevailed. The shift to the Global South in deciding global economic priorities will be more pronounced- as was evident during this visit to the Indonesian mangroves

The stage and spotlight now moves to India that will take the Presidency of the G20 on December 1 this year. What we know already

– Unlike other G20s that host most events at 1 venue, the government plans to hold 200 events over 50 locations- including each state and union territory, and hold the summit in Delhi

– The first event- will come later this month- when 30 or so G20 diplomats and invitees will be flown to Andamans for a preview of the G20 year, and to consult on the agenda ahead, and the first meeting of Sherpas will take place in December in Udaipur

– Apart from the G20, Spain is a permanent invitee, and India has decided to invite:

Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore and the U.A.E as well

– Remember India is also hosting the SCO- possibly in July 2023, and will need to organise both groupings, with ministerial meetings for both in the months ahead

What are the biggest challenges likely to be?

1. The Ukraine War, if it continues will divide the world further. India will face the same threats of boycotts and walkouts between Russia and the West

2. More economic strife, More inflation on food and energy, and building consensus on a joint communique at the end of every major meeting- India is in the hot-seat

3. India’s ongoing standoff with China- Xi Jinping is due to visit twice next year, but the LAC standoff remains unresolved, with atleast two friction points where disengagement hasn’t taken place

4. Need for Peace with Pakistan- Pakistan PM will also be invited to attend the SCO Heads of State summit in 2023.

5. Elections in Jammu and Kashmir, which could be held in April 2023, and the security environment. Officials warning terrorist activity could be going up- and this will be a major challenge for India – given the wide number of venues, including Srinagar

For India, the G20 Presidency is clearly its moment in the sun, the first time it will host the world’s most influential economic grouping. The biggest challenge will be to ensure global powers keep their focus on the long-term economic challenges of climate change, food and energy shortage, pandemics and recession- instead of the more transitory focus on conflicts and global one-upmanship, while also keeping out India’s own political differences with various countries in the months ahead.

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