On the weekend of September 9th, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Government hosted their inaugural G20 Summit as first-time presidents of the meeting. Arriving in New Delhi, President Joe Biden and other major world leaders were driven through the nation’s capital to arrive at a new, $300 million convention centre called Bharat Mandapam, an enormous structure serving as a testament to India’s stature as a newer global powerhouse. With the closure of many of the city’s schools and businesses, the Summit was truly the focus of New Delhi for the weekend; now that a few weeks have passed, it is evident that this year’s G20 is one for the books.
Setting the stage for this year’s G20
In his first presidency of the G20, PM Modi set hefty goals for the Summit. For this year, he made the G20 theme “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” or “One Earth – One Family – One Future,” signalling his desire to increase connectivity amongst all world leaders. PM Modi envisioned his presidency to be one of inclusivity that sought to tackle the complex issues pressing the global community while taking into consideration all perspectives on matters of discussion.
In addition to this broader goal, PM Modi also had a series of important agendas. One of the most important of these agendas was the formulation of a plan to address the future of urbanisation. By 2050, it’s projected that about two-and-a-half times the number of people now will be living in the major cities of the world, and given that many of these new cities will be in the Global South, it is important to invest in sustainable urbanisation. PM Modi set similar agendas to address other global issues, including revolutionising health care systems and transitioning to renewable energy.
“India positioned itself as a companion by getting 100% consensus on the declaration without any footnote for the first time ever. ‘G20’ has never been so transformative for the super nations as it promoted several initiatives on climate & green financing which was the broader concern for all these nations. Also, these initiatives aim to frame India as the preeminent voice of the Global South as India is projected to be the fastest growing major economy this year opening doors for all the world. Modi had global leaders united to prioritise sustainable development, economic resilience, and collaborative solutions as we tackle the pressing challenges of our time. Together, we reaffirmed our commitment to a greener, more inclusive future for all.” – Kapil Dua, Seamless Chief Executive Officer
The New Delhi Declaration and Seamless’s Takeaways from It
On the first day of this year’s Summit, PM Modi, alongside the other world delegations, announced the New Delhi Declaration, an ambitious and revolutionary G20 Leaders’ Declaration.
Statistically speaking, the New Delhi Declaration “broke records” not previously seen before at G20 summits. For the first time in the G20 history, a Leaders’ Declaration was passed with no footnotes or Chair’s Summary, and the eighty three paras of the declaration were passed with 100% approval from all countries, including China and Russia. This year’s declaration was also the most progressive to date: in all, there were 112 outcomes and annexed documents discussed, which is more than two-and-a-half times that of any other Leaders’ Declaration. What, then, were the biggest takeaways from the New Delhi Declaration?
A transition to sustainable development through renewable energy was a salient theme throughout the New Delhi Declaration, in line with PM Modi’s agenda. Going into the Summit, PM Modi estimated that developed countries in the G20 should invest about $5.5 trillion into the sustainable urbanisation of Global South countries. India, Brazil, and the United States–as the largest producers of renewable energy–will set the example for other countries to eventually accomplish this goal, particularly through the Global Biofuels Alliance. Launched by PM Modi, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio, President Joe Biden, and other leaders, the Global Biofuels Alliance will help other nations transition to renewable energy for its urbanisation and development needs by following the example set by these three countries.
Infrastructure: Eurasia Rail
Arguably, the other biggest takeaway from this G20 Summit was the proposed India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEE EC). Divided into an East Corridor connecting India to the Middle East and a West Corridor connecting the Middle East to Europe, the IMEE EC will increase economic connectivity across continents once completed. The backbone of the corridor will be a cross-continental rail line that will supplement existing trade routes and make ship-to-rail transit more efficient.
Other Outcomes: AU Inclusion, Agriculture, Crypto, and Finance
There were also a number of other smaller, yet still historic, takeaways. First on this list is the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 Summit. Others included calls to increase use of sustainable agricultural practices, discussions from central bankers on the future of cryptocurrency, and a general commitment to a more closely-monitored financial system.
Making Sense of the G20
Evidently, this year’s G20 Summit has continued to further demonstrate that India is a serious player in global economics, politics, and more. PM Modi has made history with some of his outcomes in his first presidency of the G20 and, alongside the success of his State Visit this summer, has cemented his commitment to collaboration with the United States.
“India has been in the spotlight throughout 2023 from eclipsing China as the world’s most populous country in the spring to Prime Minister Modi’s State Visit to the US this summer and now hosting the world’s leaders at G20 this fall. The outcomes of the G20 set a path for further collaboration and growth on critical global issues, issues that India will increasingly be at the centre of resolving.” – Michael Green, Seamless Executive Director and Senior Vice President, North America
One important point to consider in this year’s G20, though, is that India still has close ties with China and Russia, a fact that will seemingly be the case for the foreseeable future. In fact, one of the outcomes in the New Delhi Declaration was a consensus that members would avoid full condemnation of Russia for the war in Ukraine. Although Western countries on the whole wanted to condemn Russia for their acts of aggression, there was a divide amongst all nations. Instead, the New Delhi Declaration emphasised the importance of sovereignty and generally encouraged all nations to avoid war as a means of territory seizure.
Moving Forward – What Will We See in US-India Relations?
Thanks to the success of the New Delhi Declaration, we will likely see increased cross-border sharing between the US and India. India will be one of the few nations leading the way to achieving the goals set in the declaration, thus we will evidently see a new rush of economic activity from the United States and other nations into India. Navigating the nuisances of this transition, though, can be difficult.
Seamless Global, a part of Sannam S4 Group, can provide the tools necessary to businesses and nonprofit organisations that want to enter into the Indian market. As global operations and compliance experts based out of India, the team of professionals at Seamless Global guides businesses or nonprofit along every step of the process. We are there from entity setup to answer critical governance issues to setting up HR procedures, recruiting initial talent, and getting familiar with the complex regulatory standards in each part of India.