Viewpoint by H.E. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, as the world’s largest democracy and fastest growing economy, India assuming G20 Presidency for the first time and is hosting the G20 Leaders’ Summit on 9-10 September 2023

Edited by Anna Popper

‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – these two words capture a deep philosophy. It means ‘The world is one family’. This is an all-embracing outlook that encourages us to progress as one universal family, transcending borders, languages and ideologies. During India’s G20 Presidency, this has translated into a call for human-centric progress.

As One Earth, we come together to nurture our planet. As One Family, we support each other in the pursuit of growth. And we move together towards a shared future – One Future – which is an undeniable truth in these interconnected times.

The post-pandemic world order is very different from the world before it. There are three important changes, among others:

First, there is growing realisation of the need to move away from a GDP-centric view of the world towards a human-centric view.

Second, the world is recognizing the importance of resilience and reliability in global supply chains.

Third, there is a collective call for boosting multilateralism through the reform of global institutions.

Our G20 Presidency has played the role of a catalyst in these shifts.

In December 2022, when we took over the Presidency from Indonesia, I wrote that a mindset shift must be catalysed by the G20. This was especially necessary in the context of mainstreaming the marginalized aspirations of developing countries, the Global South and Africa.

The Voice of Global South Summit, attended by 125 countries, was one of the foremost initiatives under our Presidency. It was an important exercise to gather inputs and ideas from the Global South. Furthermore, our Presidency has not only seen the largest-ever participation from African countries, but also pushed for the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20.

An interconnected world means our challenges across domains are interlinked. This is the midway year of the 2030 Agenda and many are noting with great concern that progress on the SDGs is off-track. The G20 2023 Action Plan to Accelerate Progress on the SDGs will spearhead the future direction of the G20 in implementing SDGs.

In India, living in harmony with nature has been a norm since ancient times and in modern times we contribute our share towards climate action even.

Many countries of the Global South are at various stages of development and climate action must be a complementary pursuit. Ambitions for climate action must be matched with actions on climate finance and transfer of technology.

We believe that there is a need to move away from a purely restrictive attitude of what should not be done to a more constructive attitude focusing on what can be done to combat climate change.

The Chennai HLPs for a Sustainable and Resilient Blue Economy focus on keeping our oceans healthy.

Under our presidency, a global clean and green hydrogen ecosystem along with a Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre will emerge.

In 2015, we launched the International Solar Alliance. Now, through the Global Biofuels Alliance, we will support the world to enable energy transitions in tune with the benefits of a circular economy.

Democratising climate action is the best way to impart momentum to the movement. Just as individuals make daily decisions based on their long-term health, they can make their lifestyle decisions based on the impact on the planet’s long-term health. Just like Yoga became a global mass movement for wellness, we have also nudged the world with Lifestyles for Sustainable Environment (LiFE).

Due to the impacts of climate change, ensuring food and nutritional security will be crucial. Millets, or Shree Anna, can help with this while also boosting climate-smart agriculture. In the International Year of Millets, we have taken millets to global palates. The Deccan High Level Principles on Food Security and Nutrition are also helpful in this direction.

Technology is transformative, but it also needs to be made inclusive. In the past, not all sections of society benefitted equally from technological advancements. India has shown in recent years how technology can be leveraged to narrow inequalities rather than widen them. For instance, the billions across the world that remain unbanked, or lack digital identities, can be financially included through digital public infrastructure (DPI). The solutions we have built using our DPI have now been recognised globally. Now, through the G20, we will help developing countries to adapt, build, and scale DPI to unlock the power of inclusive growth.

It is no coincidence that India is the fastest-growing major economy. Our simple, scalable and sustainable solutions have empowered the vulnerable and the marginalised to lead our development story. From space to sports, economy to entrepreneurship, Indian women have taken the lead in various sectors. They have shifted the narrative from the development of women to women-led development. Our G20 Presidency is working on bridging the gender digital divide, reducing labour force participation gaps and enabling a larger role for women in leadership and decision-making.

For India, the G20 Presidency is not merely a high-level diplomatic endeavour. As the Mother of Democracy and a model of diversity, we opened the doors of this experience to the world. Today, accomplishing things at scale is a quality that is associated with India. The G20 Presidency is no exception. It has become a people-driven movement. By the end of our term, over 200 meetings will be organised in 60 Indian cities across the length and breadth of our nation, hosting nearly 100,000 delegates from 125 countries. No presidency has ever encompassed such a vast and diverse geographical expanse.

It’s one thing to hear about India’s demography, democracy, diversity and development from someone else. It is something completely different to experience them first-hand. I am sure our G20 delegates would vouch for this.

Our G20 Presidency strives to bridge divides, dismantle barriers and sow seeds of collaboration that will nourish a world where unity prevails over discord, and where shared destiny eclipses isolation. As the G20 President, we had pledged to make the global table larger, ensuring that every voice is heard and every country contributes. I am positive that we have matched our pledge with actions and outcomes.

Source and photos: India’s Prime Minister Office, Embassy of India in Hungary