India’s G20 legacy: Italy, Indonesia, South Africa laud India for putting Global South on agenda – Defence News

Bridging the North and the South, the ambassadors of Italy, Indonesia and South Africa have singled out and lauded India’s India’s G20 presidency for mainstreaming Africa and the Global South in the international agenda.   

“After G20 India, Global South and Africa has been in the centre of the stage,” said Italy’s Ambassador to India Vincenzo de Luca at a panel discussion held to release the book, titled “India’s G20 Legacy: Shaping a New World Order.”

Italy & G7

Linking India’s G20 legacy to Italy’s presidency of the G7 grouping of the world’s most developed nations, the Italian envoy said: “As far as the interaction between G7 and G20, Italy’s G7 presidency is going to focus on aspirations of developing countries. Now at G7, Africa and Global South will be integral parts of the agenda in Italy.” Italy will host the G7 summit from June 13-June 15 in the city of Fasano in Apulia. The G7 summit in Italy could possibly become the first overseas trip by Prime Minister Narendra Modi if his party wins elections and he becomes the prime  minister of India for the third time.

The launch of the book on India’s G20 legacy in New Delhi on April 18 became an occasion to appraise India’s G20 presidency and its impact on the successive presidencies of the Global South, including Brazil and South Africa.

Image Credit: India Writes Network

Edited by Manish Chand, a foreign policy expert and author, India’s G20 Legacy: Shaping a New World Order includes original perspectives and insights by practitioners, diplomats, and strategic experts that illuminate the multi-faceted legacy of India’s G20 presidency. The foreword to the book has been written by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s then G20 Chief Coordinator.

“India’s year-long G20 presidency was pathbreaking and transformative in myriad ways, leaving a lasting legacy by paving the way for shaping an inclusive and human-centric world order,” said Chand, also CEO, Centre for Global India Insights, a think-tank.

Indonesia’s Take

Indonesia’s Ambassador to India Ina H Krisnamurty lavished praise on India’s G20 presidency for promoting inclusivity in the 21-member grouping. She lauded India for taking the lead to include the African Union as a full member of the G20 and increasing the inclusivity of the G20. Second, she praised India for undertaking the initiative to host two editions of the “Voice of the Global South Summit,” which provided a platform for projecting interests and aspirations of the Global South in the G20 agenda.

African Union inside the Tent

“India’s G20 Presidency has left a historical footprint. You don’t know how happy we were when the G20 New Delhi Declaration was adopted. It was not out of relief, but pride,” she said.

South Africa, which takes over the G20 presidency after Brazil, is all praise for India for mainstreaming concerns of the Global South in the G20 agenda. “India has left a remarkable legacy. The G20 is the only platform that brings together the Global North and Global South,” said Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s High-Commissioner-designate to India.  “India has demonstrated that it’s possible for Global North and Global South to have a dialogue and discuss key global issues,” said Mr Sooklal, who joined virtually from Johannesburg.

Alluding to the inclusion of the African Union at the G20 summit in New Delhi in September 2023, Mr Sooklal said: “It was through the efforts of Prime Minister Modi ji and the Indian presidency that eventually bore fruit. It is a major development for Africa. A continent that continues to be  marginalised despite it being a major part of the international community, some 55 countries with a population of 1.4 billion.”

“India must be credited for the energy it put in through this effort. And now we have the African Union as an integral part of the G20,” he said.

“This is a legacy we will take forward in our presidency of South Africa to ensure Africa receives the necessary attention and focus of G20,” said Mr Sooklal, who earlier served as South Africa’s sherpa for BRICS and IBSA.

People-centric G20

Senior diplomats, including Muktesh Pradeshi and Lakshmi Puri, stressed the people-centric character of India’s G20 presidency and dwelt at length on how civil society became an integral part of the G20 process.  

“No other country has ever done a diplomatic endeavour at a pan-country level. Diplomacy became a part of our everyday lexicon. Even taxi wallahs, shopkeepers, barbers — everybody became part of a great national endeavour,” said Muktesh Pradeshi, currently Secretary (CPV & OIA) in India’s Ministry of External Affairs, who supervised the organisation of the New Delhi summit.

“There was never before Jan Bhagidari- participation of women actors from all, from the grassroots to top policy levels in this whole process. So it was not only the people’s G20, but this was also the women’s G20,” said Lakshmi Puri, Former Assistant Secretary General, UN.

The contributors to the book read like a veritable who’s who of the diplomatic and strategic establishment, and include among others, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Dr GNM Pandor, India’s G20 Coordinator Amitabh Kant, Sujan R. Chinoy,  DG, MP-IDSA, India’s then G20 Coordinator Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Italy’s Ambassador to India Vincenzo de Luca and Brazil’s Ambassador to India Kenneth Felix Haczynski da Nobrega.

Incisive essays and commentaries by the key figures who steered India’s G20 presidency provide an insider’s view on behind-the-scenes developments that culminated in the success of the New Delhi summit in September 2023.

“India’s G20 leadership wasn’t just a moment, it was a movement. By firmly believing in inclusivity and demonstrating leadership by example, India ignited a spark of hope in a world yearning for a more equitable future,” writes Harsh Vardhan Shringla in a foreword to the book.

“As we face the cascading challenges of our time, the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ demands to be heard louder than ever. Thus, this book, rich with the transformational aspects of India’s legacy, isn’t just a testament to the past; it’s a clarion call to action.”

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