The three-day G-20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting held in Hyderabad on food security is the classic example of India’s way of organizing the meetings of the world’s most powerful economies throughout the year was aimed at making the most of its presidency.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishnakar told a news channel that India, as president of the G-20, was clear about taking this responsibility seriously.
Giving the example of the Ministerial meeting on Food security, Jaishankar said, that being a topic that must concern common people, the focus was on challenges to food security, and India’s effort to expand the millet cultivation that consumes less water and a superfood. “The common people could relate to it. The idea behind it was to connect people with the grand event, make them stakeholders in the grand event, and not confine it to meeting rooms.”
A former ambassador told Awaz-the voice that India’s way of organizing events related to G-20 during its presidency was like a grandiose festival and it has set a new benchmark. Some 200 meetings of the officials and ministers were held across 62 cities in India and each meeting was accompanied by cultural shows, serving of local cuisine, and making the delegates visit local markets and carry back experiences of local culture, arts, and traditions of the unseen India.
All over the world that the official meetings are held along predictable lines and the Narendra Modi government decided to make the most of the opportunity to mobilize the public, project India as a diverse nation and a tourist destination, and more importantly expose the unseen India to the delegates, sources privy to the government’s functioning said.
India’s way of conducting these meetings was unprecedented and helped accentuate its soft power and project it as a country of huge diversity, capacity, and opportunity. “It’s like parents conducting the wedding of their daughter in a grandiose way to make it an everlasting memory for the guests,” he said.
However, the G-20 Summit in New Delhi on 9-10 September will test India’s capacity to hold global events like even the Olympics in which heads of the state or government from 40 countries will land in Delhi along with their delegations.
“India aspires to hold Olympics and maybe the G-20 Summit will project India as a country that has the capacity and infrastructure for such mega events and support its claim when it comes to that,” sources said.
Sources said the government faced challenges in providing top-end luxury cars to the visiting heads of States. “Each event helps us understand our limitations and correct them; this time cobbling a fleet of Mercedes cars was a challenge.”
Organizing events like a global Summit also made India test its capacities. “Holding the summit is a mammoth logistical exercise,” said a former diplomat. “Joe Biden is landing on September 7 with two planes and so would be the leaders of other countries. So, their movement across the city of New Delhi and the security concerns have necessitated the closing down of most parts of the metropolis.”
The diplomat who attended a G-7 Meeting in Rome, Italy, said this is a normal practice as he also saw the capital city close down back then. The host city of Italy was virtually shut down. “It’s done because if even one unpleasant incident happens, it becomes headlines all over the world. On one hand, you are trying to present an advanced and beautiful image of yourself to the world that will remain forever.”
“It’s a matter of prestige and an opportunity in the long term for India,” the former ambassador told Awaz-the voice.
India is today the world’s fastest-growing economy and engagement with the (G20) countries comprising 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States) and the European Union is an opportunity in the future.
The G20 members represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population
Besides convincing the world of its capacities and achievements, India has a lot to show in terms of our successes like the UPI, digital technologies, women-led development, inclusive growth poverty alleviation, and mega green energy projects. The Narendra Modi government has left no stone unturned in incorporating these elements while holding all the events related to G-20 and the forthcoming summit in.
The presidency of G-20 has added to India’s stature as a fast-developing country and a nation that is providing solutions to global problems.
Sources said the diplomats of Indonesia (the previous chair of the G-20) and Brazil (the next chair of the G-20) have been saying that it is difficult to match India's style and scale of organizing events throughout the year.
The events leading to the G-20 summit have helped local economies in the cities where these were held. “In New Delhi and the NCR, the hotels of all levels are full, and the same was the case when the G-20 related 200 meetings were held across 62 venues across the country throughout the year,” sources said. Besides the host cities also saw a huge development of infrastructure.
Politically, the G-20 Presidency saw India as in the league of the world’s topmost economies, it also highlighted India’s emergence as the leader of the Global South. It may be recalled that India held the Voice of Global South Summit 2023 and involved the developing countries of the world in the global agenda of development.
In one way while we have good relations with the USA and Russia, and tension with China, India is not isolated and G-20 showed it enjoys huge support among the nations of the world.
However, as India passes the baton to Brazil the next week, the focus will be over and it's the country could make most of its credibility and stature it has acquired during its G-20 Presidency, sources said.