Virpratap Vikram Singh (GH): Mr. Das, thank you for making time for this interview on the sidelines of the Think20 meeting in Mumbai. With Argentina as president of the G20 this year, how can India use this year’s agenda to put forth issues relevant to it?
Shaktikanta Das: India has always cooperated with G20 presidencies to foster consensus on various issues. All three priorities that the Argentine presidency has raised are very relevant for India.
The first is the future of work or employment in the context of robotics, automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). As you know, various groups in India are working on AI. While it can be a threat to some jobs in the short term, in the long run, it can create new employment opportunities. So, it is a priority for India.
Infrastructure for development is again very important. Infrastructure investment provides great momentum for growth. India has placed disaster-resilient infrastructure on the agenda. This was addressed by our honourable prime minister during the Hamburg Summit in 2017, and we want to focus on it to improve the life cycle cost of infrastructure.
The future of food is very important for India because we need sustainable soil health and sustainable agriculture to have enough food production for a growing global population.
The three priorities for the Argentine presidency are clearly India’s too, and there is much convergence in our approach and theirs.
GH: Next year, Japan will take up the G20 presidency. What role do you envision for India then?
Shaktikanta Das:: Our prime minister has been placing on the table issues of global importance, whether combating terrorism, fighting corruption or dealing with climate change. With Japan, which is our strategic partner, India will continue to play an important role. I think issues involving development and trade will be important. India will continue to extend its full support and cooperation to the Japanese leadership.
GH: With India’s own presidency of the G20 imminent—2021 is not far off–what is its role in it?
Shaktikanta Das: India has been an important voice in the G20 deliberations. It will continue to promote inclusive development, fairness in world trade, efforts to address malnutrition and hunger, and poverty reduction. So India will play an important role just as it has been doing all along.
This is a transcript of a video interview conducted with Mr. Das on 12 March 2018 and has been edited for this format.
Shaktikanta Das is the Indian G20 Sherpa. He attended the official Think20 Mumbai meeting on 12 March.
Virpratap Vikram Singh is the Digital Media & Content Manager at Gateway House.
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