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India’s attempt to expand G20 to increase Global South imprint

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Bilateral, Regional Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

Source: TH

 Context: G20 negotiators led by Indian Sherpa (Amitabh Kant) are discussing the draft “Leader’s Declaration” for the Summit in Sept 2023.

What is the Indian government aiming for? Expand the imprint of the Global South in the G20.

How? India has inserted (in the revised draft) the proposal for the African Union (AU) membership in the G20.

 

Other additions in the revised draft are:

  • Gender-led development,
  • Digital public infrastructure and
  • Green hydrogen transitions.

 

Significance of India’s Push to Expand G20:

  • Divert attention from the global polarisation: Over the war in Ukraine, that is holding up a joint statement at all India-led G20 events.
  • Will make G20 a truly global body: With the AU joining the G20, 90% of the global population will be represented by the grouping.
    • Also, African countries are among the emerging market regions with the fastest-growing economies

 

What is aiding India’s push for G20 expansion?

  • The potential of developing nations: The G20 hosted by India represents the first time that developing countries form the troika (hosts for 2022-2023-2024) of Indonesia-India-Brazil.
  • Over-representation of Europe in G20: A quarter of the grouping is made up of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and the EU (Spain is a permanent special invitee).

 

Challenges towards adding AU in the G20:

  • Competition from other contenders: These include regional groupings like the ASEAN and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as countries like the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.
  • Paralyse decision-making: Inducting the AU will also mean an exponential rise in the number of countries that can hold up the consensus over a G20 document, which is already paralysed by the Ukraine war.

 

Conclusion: As India’s legacy as G20 President is already hanging between whether it can forge a joint statement or gather all G20 leaders under one roof, the inclusion of African countries may prove to be compensation.

The African Union (AU):

●      It is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent.

●      It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).

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India-Africa ties