At a seminar organized at the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK), soon after the Summit on September 9-10, 2023 experts concluded that the G20 India Presidency had several accomplishments and some unfinished agenda amid severe geo-fragmentation. The seminar closely looked at the achievements, challenges and unmet expectations. The Seminar was organized by IIMK’s Uruppika: Centre for Excellence in Macroeconomics, Banking and Finance (CEMBAF) in collaboration with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) as part of the G20 University Connect Lecture Series of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
Delivering his keynote address, former diplomat, Ambassador J.K. Tripathi, stated that India’s G20 was special and the Summit was a resounding success. It pulled out a diplomatic feat in the New Delhi Leaders’ declaration. The declaration was pulled off against all odds and this was achieved after more than 200 meetings and tough negotiations. India has increasingly taken leadership position on the world stage and this is reflected at G20, BRICS and G7. Avoiding direct condemnation of Russia was realpolitik though avoiding mention of Indo-Pacific and South China Sea was a bit of disappointment.
In his message, IIMK Director, Prof. Debashis Chatterjee shared that, “in a fractured world, the G20 India Presidency did a commendable job in evolving a political consensus on the G20 New Delhi Leader’s declaration reflective of our spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Everyone’s destiny will be shaped by what India is striving for – “One World, One family, One Future. During its Presidency, India sought justice by pushing the voice of Global South and this culminated in conferring the African Union a permanent seat on the G20. With this, India has truly emerged as a world leader. Its diplomatic nous, leadership and statesmanship now has universal acceptance”.
Initiating free and frank discussions at the seminar, Prof. Mridul Saggar, Head of IIMK’s Centre for Macroeconomics, Banking and Finance, observed that the G20 India Presidency has been a “definitive hop for the Global Finance with some skips”. Even if we see it as a glass half full, it matters in a parched land.” There are deliverables that will eventually provide traction to global growth include the integration of Africa into global economy and finance, Lifestyles for Sustainable Development (LiFE), Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA) and the India-Middle East-Europe connectivity corridor. However, he noted that while Sherpa track had several successes, the Finance track had unfinished agenda. Strengthening Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) was on G20 agenda for five years. India had set up an intellectually powerful Expert Group led by Larry Summers and N.K. Singh but the Expert Group’s work remained incomplete and India missed a golden chance for getting these reforms endorsed by the Leaders. He also said that the deadline of December 2023 for quota review will not be met and expressed disappointment that the stand on banning crypto assets was sacrificed in the consensus crypto regulation, posing threat to financial stability.
Prof. Anupam Das, Chairperson PGP-LSM and Prof. Chitwan Lalji, Chairperson Economics at IIMK were the other speakers in the interactive discussion. Prof. Chitwan’s opening remarks set forth the big gains of the Summit. Prof. Das explained the diplomatic gains but expressed concern that the world was still fragmented and the human angle of the Ukraine War required greater attention from the G20. He added that Wars today are not necessarily fought through military and that G20 should also focus on digital wars, trade wars and economic blockades.