The Oct 30-31 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Rome took several important steps to accelerate economic recovery and health security. In the absence of several Eurasian leaders, India played a significant role especially on climate and energy. The G20 will now acquire greater salience in India's foreign policy, as it readies to lead the grouping in 2023.
On 8 October 2021, the 29th France-Africa summit was held in Montpellier, France. This unique summit focused on youth and civil society engagement, led from the front by French President Emmanuel Macron, in an open and honest dialogue. However, the success of this new outreach will be measured by how France fulfils the promises made at the summit.
Courtesy: Press Information Bureau, Government of India
India hosted the 13th BRICS summit on September 9, celebrating 15 years of the multilateral. The leaders committed to fighting terrorism and reforming multilateral organisations, among other diverse aspects. However, the grouping clearly needs better implementation strategies if the agreements reached, are to be truly successful.
Courtesy: BRICS Forum - India 2021
The 13th BRICS summit will be held virtually on 9 September 2021 and India is the host. The grouping has managed to hold its ground in an era of increasingly complex geopolitics. While immediate goals are important, in the longer term it must cooperate on counter terrorism, improve trade and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Africa is a foreign policy priority for India, but evidence shows a recent decline in bilateral trade and investment. There is already a "third scramble" for geopolitical influence in Africa. Now is the time for India to make new commitments in the continent: developing and deepening links in health, space and digital technologies.
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Now that the India-U.S. 2+2 meeting has ended, Indian officials are preparing for a hectic season of summiteering in November, from the SCO to the BRICS and the G20. All will give India global attention, and help the country prepare its positioning at home and abroad.
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The Space20 is the newest sub-forum of the G20 initiated by Saudi Arabia, with the support of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. India, on its way to the G20 presidency in 2022, should set a comprehensive Space20 agenda for the democratization of outer space, whereby it can share its space growth story with the developing world and achieve its goal to become a global knowledge epicenter.
The UN turned 75 this year but instead of grand celebrations, the world witnessed an empty UNGA with world leaders addressing it via video screening because of the pandemic. The UN is under unprecedented stress and being shown up for its inability to tackle the challenges of today like the pandemics, climate change, terrorism or global peace and security. The institution's key governing structures, especially the UN Security Council, are inadequate and demand reform. India must now use gritty resolve to ensure its place in these governing structures.
The G20's agenda has expanded over the past decade to include Africa. India should use the opportunity of its upcoming presidency of the G20 in 2022 to further cement its relationship with Africa and pursue a multilateral agenda from within the G20 for a more equal partnership with Africa.
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The COVID crisis compelled a change in the Business20 (B20) focus areas to reviving health, health facilities and business activity in 2020. India must start work now to give the B20 even greater responsiveness and relevance as the prospective G20 chair in 2022.