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Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of the two-day G20 Summit that will take place in Osaka on June 28 and 29. He will be meeting several world leaders, including US President Donald Trump. He will also hold a trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit with Russian and Chinese Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, respectively. PM Modi in his departure statement said that issues such as women empowerment, artificial intelligence and common efforts to address challenges like terrorism will be high on his agenda. He said the two-day Osaka summit will also be an important stepping stone for India towards hosting the G20 summit in 2022. PM Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe held wide-ranging talks in Osaka on Thursday and several aspects of the India-Japan relationship were discussed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed the Indian diaspora in Kobe, where he expressed appreciation towards the electorate that had voted him to power with a bigger mandate than earlier.



What is the G20?

The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies. Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population.

The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”.


After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed on discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.


The group has no permanent staff of its own, so every year in December, a G20 country from a rotating region takes on the presidency. 

That country is then responsible for organising the next summit, as well as smaller meetings for the coming year.

They can also choose to invite non-member countries along as guests. The first G20 meeting took place in Berlin in 1999, after a financial crisis in East Asia affected many countries around the world.


Who attends these meetings?

At first, the G20 was mostly attended by finance ministers and central bank governors.

That changed after the global financial crisis in 2008. With banks collapsing, unemployment rising and wages stagnating, the organisation turned into an emergency council for presidents and prime ministers.


Full membership of the G20:

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.


Its relevance in changing times:

As globalization progresses and various issues become more intricately intertwined, the recent G20 summits have focused not only on macroeconomy and trade, but also on a wide range of global issues which have an immense impact on the global economy, such as development, climate change and energy, health, counter-terrorism, as well as migration and refugees.

The G20 has sought to realize an inclusive and sustainable world through its contributions towards resolving these global issues.


A Sherpa (as one of the panelist mentioned) is a personal representative of the leader of a member country at an international Summit meeting such as the G8, G20 or the Nuclear Security Summit and are responsible for thrashing out the details before the meeting of the leaders. 


G20 Summit 2019: Different themes

Theme 1: Global Economy: Even though the G20 was originally established in response to the global financial crisis, its core mission today is to establish economic fundamentals for realising sustainable and inclusive growth of the global economy. It discusses concrete actions for strengthening growth potential.

It also discusses the areas of international taxation and finance. The summit takes up issues of how to respond to economic and social structural changes bought by globalization and digitalisation.

Theme 2: Trade and Investment: The second theme for the summit is trade and investment, within which the summit discusses the importance of growth, productivity, innovation, jobs creation and development. The G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy held in Tsukuba city on June 8 and 9 focuses on the following issues:

  • Dialogue on current international trade developments
  • A sound Business Environment that promotes market-driven investments decisions
  • Promotion of trade and investment that contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth
  • WTO Reform, recent developments in Bilateral and regional trade agreements

Theme 3: Innovation: Under the framework of the third theme, which is Innovation, the summit will take up the following application:

  • Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT)
  • Human-centric AI
  • Digital security
  • Digital for SDGs and inclusion

With this, the presidency also suggested discussing the importance of social application of emerging technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), robotics, and big data, which contribute to fully harnessing the opportunities brought about by digitalization, as well as to achieving a “Society 5.0″* and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Theme 4: Environment and Energy: The fourth theme for the summit is Environment and Energy, which will include the following points:

  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Environment (Marine plastic litter)

Theme 5: Employment: The fifth theme will revolve around ‘Employment’ and will include the following points:

  • adapting to demographic change
  • promoting gender equality in labour markets
  • exchanging national polices
  • practices in response to the new forms of work

Theme 6: Women’s Empowerment: Women’s empowerment has been a hot topic in not only the G20 summit but in every other summit happening all over the globe. This year, the G20 summit will highlight the following aspects under women’s empowerment:

  • Implementation of G20 commitments including those related to women’s labour participation.
  • Enhancing support for girl’s and women’s education including STEM( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
  • Engagement with women business leaders and entrepreneurs

Theme 7: Development: The 7th theme of this year’s summit is ‘Development’ which will include some major points, which includes:

  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Accountability
  • STI (Science Technology and Innovations) for SDGs
  • Quality infrastructure for connectivity enhancement towards sustainable development
  • Human capital investment

Theme 8: Health: The last and final theme is ‘Health’. Global health is an important topic for basic sustainable growth of the global economy. This year WHO is invited to the Osaka Summit. the three important elements will include:

  • Achievement of universal health coverage
  • response to aging society
  • management of health emergencies


India’s voice at the G20 summit

  • India is likely to raise issues such as financial stability, artificial intelligence, energy security, reforming multilateralism and common efforts to address terrorism at the summit
  • The latest G20 is being held a time when the very idea of multilateral talks to manage global affairs and resolve disputes is at threat as read from Trump’s tweet.
  • Negotiations to get waiver for S400.
  • Burning issues of international consequence, such as the US-Iran standoff over the latter’s nuclear ambitions and the trade spat between the US and China, could eclipse other matters listed for discussion (women’s empowerment, energy and the environment, among them), but even so, India has a chance to voice itself on various things affecting the country and the rest of the world.
  • US and China trade war talks.
  • At this forum back in 2008, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had spoken about countering the Great Recession as an economist, prompting global commentators to commend the expansion of what was earlier a much smaller group of countries with large economies.
  • While coordinated action to rescue the world economy was the challenge ten years ago, now it is mostly about issues on which a convergence of views is far more difficult. Still, there are some issues that India is expected to push that could find listeners.
  • Apart from a series of bilateral meetings with other countries, India may also go ahead with a couple of trilaterals (RIC=Russia-India-China and JAI=Japan-America-India) on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
  • Balancing relations appears to be the objective.
  • In a world turning too fractious for its own good, neutrality could hold power.


Osaka is an opportunity for India to promote its national interests in an international context.

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