India’s presence at the G20 focused on security and climate, which have been emerging as important issues apart from trade and development that have been traditionally of importance to the G20 meets.
India, among the strong emerging economies at the G20 summit this year found a focus on terrorism as well as climate change as major issues, as it also highlighted what it considered some of its achievements and reforms in the sectors of economy such as the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). On the sidelines of the event, with bilateral talks as well as the BRICS informal meet, India raised similar issues in addition to which country-specific issues were also raised.
For India, in recent diplomatic international forums as well as bilateral meets with countries such as the UK, Germany, US and Israel, terror has been the highlight of discussions. As a crucial transnational threat to security, terrorism is an issue that is of growing concern to people across the world, and thus also an important arena for enhancing cooperation to fight against. At the G20 Summit being held in Hamburg, Germany, counter-terrorism measures emerged as one of the crucial points of discussion for India.
The countries made a joint declaration on the first day of the summit where information exchange involving operations, preventive measures and criminal justice response was agreed upon. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised this issue with European leaders, presenting a 11-point action plan. Addressing the press, the Sherpa for India at the Summit, Arvind Panagariya stated “India had a major influence on counter terrorism discussions at the G20 and also played a significant role in talks on trade and investment, migration and climate change.”
— BJP (@BJP4India) July 8, 2017
Modi also remarked on the importance of global growth and trade, speaking about how the newly introduced GST sought to unify the Indian market. Infrastructure, labour mobility as well as tech facilitation were some of the things Modi urged the G20 countries to enhance their role in. As climate change has emerged as an important topic of interest for international set-ups, Modi asserted that “the developing nations needed to have more space to grow,” and there is “need for cooperation in world of opposing realities.” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay shared “Our stand has been very very clear that what we are committed on climate change as per our own values and more importantly in terms of our own requirements.”
The United States is the wealthiest G20 member on a per capita basis, at $57,500.
India is the poorest at $1,700. pic.twitter.com/AWdKC0SLSy
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) July 7, 2017
Diplomacy on the sidelines
While the main events of G20 found India focusing on particular international issues, Modi took to meeting a number of world leaders to discuss issues pertaining to bilateral relations. At the BRICS informal meeting that was held on the sidelines of the main G20 meet, terrorism was again raised as well as the need for financial reforms such as India’s GST. Commitment to the Paris Agreement was reiterated.
It has been a busy day in Hamburg, with the G-20 Summit and very fruitful bilateral meetings with various world leaders.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 8, 2017
Modi was seen and extensively photographed interacting with leaders such as American President Donald Trump, Prime Minister of UK Theresa May, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Nowergian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, all of whom were said to have negotiations relating to interests of both parties involved. Interestingly, while India and China are yet again involved in a border skirmish in a part of the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, an event that has been preceded by numerous growing tensions between the two countries, Modi greeted President Xi Jinping and shared warm words even as there was no extended talks between the two.