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The G20 Summit that kicks off in Bali, Indonesia today (November 14) has a special significance for India, which will take over the Presidency from December 1, 2022 for a one-year period and host next year’s summit.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to Bali, food security and environment issues are high on the list of India’s priorities, part of a broader agenda of ensuring, as Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra put it ahead of the summit, “a greater voice for the global south in issues of international economic cooperation and the need for reformed 21st century institutions”.
On Tuesday (November 15), the Prime Minister will attend two working sessions on food and energy security and the “Health Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment” followed by a dinner for all G20 leaders. Also of interest are the bilateral meetings that will be held on the sidelines on Tuesday and Wednesday, prior to the Prime Minister’s departure from Bali on Wednesday afternoon. Suhasini Haidar reports that the PM will have a number of bilateral interactions including with U.S. President Joe Biden, the new U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and French President Emmanuel Macron, but as of Monday, no meeting had been announced with the Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Indian and Chinese leaders have not spoken since a November 2019 meeting in Brasilia, amid the continuing chill in relations.
Speaking to the The Hindu on the eve of the summit, Ambassador Ina Krisnamurthi said Indonesia is encouraging all G20 leaders to meet and resolve issues at the upcoming summit in Bali. Indonesia and India have been working closely together on developing the G20 agenda for the “Global South”. The G20 forum of the world’s largest economies will be steered by emerging economies for the near future: Indonesia this year, India in 2023 and Brazil in 2024. “Our focus is on post-pandemic economic recovery as well as the disruption of global value chains. We have maintained our priorities, even after the war in Ukraine, although many believe that we need to shift that focus, because Indonesia maintains its belief that the three priorities most relevant are the future of the world, the future of the earth, and for sure, the future of the Global South (emerging economies),” Ms. Krisnamurthi said.
Asked about the uncertainty over a joint communique being issued at the G20 and threats of a boycott by western countries, Ms. Krisnamurthi said Indonesia had “maintained its priorities even after the war in Ukraine”, which was to ensure that the G20 grouping remains the “primary economic engagement” in the world after the losses due to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, on a visit to Moscow last week, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said Russia is India’s “steady and time-testedpartner” and defended the 20-fold increase in India’s oil imports from Russia this year. Speaking after meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, he called for dialogue and diplomacy and said India was ready to support any initiative to “de-risk” the situation in Ukraine and promote global stability, although he did not make any specific offer to mediate in Russia-Ukraine talks.
The G20 and food security: How India’s presidency of the G20 offers a historical opportunity for the country to share its successful journey in moving from a food-deficit nation to a food-surplus nation, and address the growing challenges of food security for creating resilient and equitable food systems.
India, and other developing countries, blocked an attempt by rich nations to focus on all top 20 emitters of carbon dioxide during discussions on the ‘Mitigation Work Programme’ at the ongoing U.N. COP27 climate summit in Egypt. During the first week of the climate talks, developed countries desired that all top 20 emitters, including India and China, discuss intense emission cuts and not just the rich nations which are historically responsible for climate change. India pushed back the attempt with the support of like-minded developing countries, including China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan.
G. Ananthakrishnan explains why talks on keeping the rise in average global temperature to 1.5°C are at a cliff edge. After the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change of 2015, the focus is now on voluntary national actions to drive down greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise in average global temperature.
Saptaparno Ghosh explains the “greenwashing” problem: At COP27, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for “zero tolerance for net-zero greenwashing”, referring to the recent net-zero commitments made by private companies and sovereigns and “loopholes wide enough to drive a diesel truck through.”
The Top Five
What we are reading this week – the best of The Hindu’s Opinion and Analysis
- Sreeja Jaiswal on the smokescreen around private climate finance, and why grant-based and concessional international public climate finance will continue to play a key role in addressing the needs and the priorities of developing countries.
- Vivek Katju on the tempting apple of Ukraine mediation and the risks for India: If undertaken in the wake of the West’s visible encouragement, India’s mediation efforts could not only fail but also expose the true extent of its global influence, he writes.
- Suhasini Haidar on how the lack of a global consensus is derailing counter-terror diplomacy, and the hard reality for India facing a future of counter terrorism cooperation that is going to be less cooperative.
- Happymon Jacob on the age of minimalism in India-Pakistan ties and the “cold peace” between the neighbours with no political will for any grand relationship, grand gestures or grand outreach.
- Dinakar Peri on India’s concerns about the rising presence of Chinese fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean, with more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels monitored in the Indian Ocean in the first half of this year, according to the Indian Navy, even as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to rise beyond India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).