India has often been called the ‘voice of global south‘ and even more so when it took charge of the G20 presidency. It proved it to be so when it decided to hold a virtual summit of developing countries on 12-13 January 2023. It was estimated to be the biggest digital conference of the leaders and the ministers of developing countries.
The goal was to address the developing nations not represented in G20 , and have discussions about their development issues and priorities and their expectations from India as G20 president. The idea behind this conference was to make sure that developing countries feel heard, seen and engaged with the G20 process so that G20 could come up with ‘ human centric development ‘ .
A whooping number of 125 nations took part in the digital summit. Looking at it geographically, 29 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, 47 countries from Africa, 7 countries from Europe, 31 countries from Asia , and 11 countries from Oceania respectively were there. Out of them, 11 countries participated at the leader’s level of the inaugural session and 7 countries showed their presence in deliberations at the concluding session, both lead by PM Narendra Modi.
The conference had ten sessions in total. Apart from two leaders’ sessions with the foreign ministers where the focus was on the global south and their suggestions for India as the G20 president, eight sessions with the different ministers were held, involving the Ministers of Finance, Trade, Environment and Energy, Health and Education.
The sessions proved to be really fruitful as some valuable inputs were provided by various leaders and ministers. President Nyusi of Mozambique stated that there’s a need for concerted international efforts to focus global attention on promoting the interests of the developing world. President Buhari of Nigeria focused on the huge debt burden that had derailed many countries’ development plans.
Presenting India’s point of view, PM Modi said that the Global South wanted “a globalisation that brings prosperity and well-being to humanity as a whole.” He added that ‘a human-centric globalisation’ was required. He assured his guests that India’s G20 Presidency will attempt to voice the views of the Global South on these important issues.
Global South refers to the developing and the less-developed countries of the world. In his opening remarks, the PM said ‘ challenges of the COVID pandemic, rising prices of fuel, fertilizer and foodgrains, and increasing geopolitical tensions have impacted our development efforts’. Now, these were not the problems that originated in global south, but have impacted it the most. All the representative countries agreed that that the key issues include the fragmentation of the international landscape, shortages in grain exports, oil and gas, and fertilizer as a result of the Ukraine war, and terrorism.
It’s high time that India pictures a common future with the global south and acknowledge the common past of suffering colonialism with each other. In the past years, India has risen as a popular and prominent player in the world affair, specially when it comes to representing global south. India has made sure to lead the activities and forums to present the issues to that concern the global south as a whole. In areas like trade, climate change, and nuclear non-proliferation, India’s leadership has been prominent in promoting developing nations’ interests and concerns on the international stage. Besides that, India is also seen participating like never before in regional organisations like the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and international organisations like the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. With this summit, India has made sure the world never forgets that South Asia is the new shining global star which is not going to dim its light any time soon.