It is a watershed moment for India as a nation that it has just assumed presidency of the G20, a premier forum for global economic cooperation. The new role offers the second most populous country in the world an unprecedented opportunity to shape the international response to pressing global challenges and transition from being a rule-taker to being a rule-maker. It can now serve as the voice of the Global South, a grouping that largely includes lower-income nations in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
The theme of India’s presidency of G20 will be driven by the underlying vision of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family), best encapsulated by the motto ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’. The focus will be on highlighting the linkages between inclusive development, gender equality, peace and security, and full use of technological innovations for universal benefit. The challenge before New Delhi will be to forge unity within a disparate grouping to tackle larger global challenges such as economic slowdown, indebtedness of countries, and the climate crisis amid persisting divisions over the Ukraine conflict. This approach will require constant and meaningful engagement with all G20 members, including China, which is engaged in a bitter border standoff with India. At a time when the world is passing through turmoil marked by military conflicts, economic uncertainty and the after-effects of the pandemic, there are high expectations on India to strive for unity that can address the most challenging and pressing issues. India will have to first address domestic issues like rising religious polarisation, which has the potential to embarrass the country at a time when it assumes the crucial presidency of G20.