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India is an important link between G7, G20, and BRICS

The G7 knows that global green transition and SDG targets cannot be achieved without India. For its ambitions, India needs G7 investment, technology, and green finance

June 29, 2022 / 10:59 AM IST
The Group of Seven (G7) is an inter-governmental political grouping consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. The G-7 leaders plan to discuss a range of key issues with their guests, including climate change, energy, health and the COVID-19 pandemic, food security and gender equality. (Image: Twitter @narendramodi)

The Group of Seven (G7) is an inter-governmental political grouping consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. The G-7 leaders plan to discuss a range of key issues with their guests, including climate change, energy, health and the COVID-19 pandemic, food security and gender equality. (Image: Twitter @narendramodi)

The just-concluded G7 summit took place under the shadows of the Ukraine war, which has threatened economic recovery. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic is still not over, and there are many points of tension in the Indo-Pacific Region.

To tackle these challenges, the group of rich industrialised nations resolved to “continue to impose severe and immediate economic costs on President Putin’s regime” along with stepping up efforts to “secure global energy and food security”, and stabilising post-pandemic economic recovery.

The major outcomes included the Global Alliance on Food Security; Climate Club, and a $600 billion Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment. Besides, the G7 nations underscored their commitment to humanitarian aid and reconstruction in Ukraine.

On foreign and security policy, the major focus was also on China. The G7 nations reiterated the “importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific”, and reminded China to “abstain from threats, coercion, intimidation measures or use of force”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with the leaders of Argentina, Indonesia, Senegal, and South Africa, also attended some of the sessions. Their participation strengthened the goal of the G7 German presidency — ‘Progress towards an equitable world’.

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India is going to take over the G20 presidency soon. It is also an important member of the BRICS grouping. Since most of the issues discussed at the summit have broader implications and need wider ownership, India can become an important link between the G7, G20, and BRICS.

Practically, the G7 is not just seven rich countries, but a group of more than 30 Western nations. The European Union as a whole also participates in all meetings, and Europe has been very influential in setting the G7’s agenda. After all, it was Germany and France which launched the World Economic Summit in the 1970s, which later became the G7.

Since India now has very strong economic and strategic ties with all of them, it does not see this group with distrust. It is negotiating an FTA with the United Kingdom and has re-started negotiations for trade and investment agreements with the EU. As the Indian economy is likely to be one of the fastest growing economies in the post-pandemic phase, partnership with India is attractive for the West.

In fact, for its sustainable modernisation and energy transition, India is keen to attract investment, technology, and green finance from these very nations. So India will be pleased to be partnering with initiatives such as Just Energy Transition Partnership, and extra funding for global infrastructure.

Most summit discussions were influenced by the Ukraine war. As India has different perceptions about this crisis, Modi rightly focused on strengths of the Indian economy, its ambitious climate targets and performance, and contribution to global food security.

Through the Resilient Democracies Statement, India along with G7 has affirmed its commitment to “protecting the freedom of expression and opinion online and offline and ensuring a free and independent media landscape”.

In addition, it has agreed to “promoting academic freedom” and “guarding the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors” as well as “protection of human rights defenders and all those exposing corruption”. This is an important development in the context of some criticism in Western media about Indian democracy which is seen under stress.

The G7 relations with Russia are bad, and tensions with China have grown. The main focus of NATO’s Madrid summit which is taking place immediately after the G7 meeting is the direct security threat from Moscow, and challenges posed by China.

In these circumstances, strengthening partnership with New Delhi is useful for the G7. Moreover, major global targets related to green transition and Sustainable Development Goals cannot be met without robust and equitable Indian economic growth.

India also has the potential to scale up new emerging technologies, bringing costs down, and making it affordable to other developing countries. Some of the success stories of Indian development experiences can be replicated in other countries through triangular projects with the G7 nations. India has already developed such partnerships with Germany, the UK, and the US.

In the current geopolitical situation, where the West is facing threats from the authoritarian states, partnering and strengthening other democracies like India is also an important G7 objective.

Gulshan Sachdeva is Professor at the Centre for European Studies and Coordinator, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Views are personal, and do not represent the stand of this publication.
Gulshan Sachdeva is Professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and headed the ADB and Asia Foundation projects at the Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul. Views are personal.  
first published: Jun 29, 2022 10:59 am
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