In a recent interview, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a vision for India's G20 presidency that revolves around the core principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the belief that the world is one interconnected family. This perspective shapes India's approach to domestic and international affairs, with profound implications for India and the global community.
The guiding principles of Modi's leadership at home, Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas, emphasise inclusive growth, trust-building, and utilising individual capabilities for group advancement. India has experienced tremendous economic reforms, social advancement, and infrastructural investment under this framework.
The country's dedication to equitable progress has gained international attention and investment.
India's human-centric strategy was demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic through its digital public infrastructure, which provided vaccines and relief to more than 150 countries. India has received praise from around the world for its success thanks to its dedication to diversity, which extends to programs like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
Modi's Vision: Inclusivity, Global Cooperation, and Sustainble Growth
India's G20 presidency aimed to democratise the forum, hosting events nationwide to empower diverse regions and communities. This approach reflects Modi's commitment to cooperative federalism and inclusivity. Internationally, Modi's diplomacy has strengthened India's global relationships.
India's stable government with a clear development agenda and contributions across various domains has garnered praise and fostered cooperation, even among countries with conflicting interests. India has emerged as a voice for the Global South, advocating for their inclusion in global discourse.
Modi calls for a shift from restrictions to positive actions on climate change, emphasising energy transition, sustainable agriculture, and empathy for developing countries bearing the brunt of climate impacts. Indeed, India has exceeded renewable energy targets and promotes eco-conscious behaviour.
He supports rules-based trade and equitable policies in global trade, particularly for MSMEs and the developing world. India seeks a transparent and fair-trade regime that benefits all nations. India's G20 Presidency aims to address global debt vulnerabilities, facilitate coordinated debt treatment, and strengthen multilateral coordination.
And, Modi's emphasis on digital public infrastructure and tech empowerment, as seen in UPI, Aadhaar, and ONDC, showcases India's success in empowering the vulnerable and accelerating growth, setting a global model. Modi stresses close international cooperation to ensure policies against inflation don't harm others. India's efforts to control inflation are in line with global needs.
Overall, the prime minister's vision for India's G20 presidency underscores the importance of interconnectedness, inclusivity, and cooperation on a global scale. It promotes a multipolar world, equitable development, and responsible global leadership, which could significantly impact India and the world. Under Modi's leadership, India aims to shape a more prosperous and inclusive future for all nations by fostering unity, trust, and human-centric solutions.
Examining PM Modi's Climate Response and Global Influence
During the interview, in response to critical questions about climate change and clean energy deployment, PM Modi offered a perspective that warrants closer examination. While he touches on essential aspects of the global climate crisis, there are areas where his response leaves room for deeper scrutiny.
He correctly emphasises that climate change is a shared reality that affects the entire world, transcending regional boundaries. However, one might argue that his statement merely underscores the obvious. The need for global cooperation on climate issues has long been acknowledged, and the crux lies in concrete actions and commitments. Could India use its influence to get cooperation from G20 countries on climate action?
PM Modi’s call for a shift in strategy, away from criticism and blame, towards positive actions like energy transition and sustainable agriculture is reasonable. However, it raises questions about whether this represents a subtle deflection from holding developed nations accountable for their historical and ongoing contributions to the climate crisis.
While constructive actions are essential, accountability and rectification are equally crucial to addressing climate change. The emphasis on sensitivity and empathy towards the Global South is commendable, acknowledging that these nations bear a disproportionate burden of climate impacts. Yet, Modi's approach stops short of advocating for reparative measures or compelling developed countries to meet their financial commitments, such as the unfulfilled promise of $100 billion in climate finance.
Regarding India's clean and renewable energy efforts, Modi's claims of success should be viewed critically. While India has made strides in renewable energy, concerns remain about the pace of fossil fuel reduction and the influence of powerful energy interests.
Further analysis is needed to assess the depth of India's commitment to phasing out fossil fuels and whether it aligns with the urgency of the climate crisis. Modi's global initiatives, like the International Solar Alliance and Mission LiFE, are undoubtedly positive. However, they should be scrutinised for their impact and whether they genuinely address the root causes of environmental degradation and climate change.
India's Leading Role in Shaping Global Climate Action at G20
With a fast-expanding population and economy, India is a major player in the worldwide fight against climate change. India has a special potential to influence the G20 meeting for climate action in several ways as a G20 member. India can push for stronger pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions first and foremost.
India has achieved great progress in deploying renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures even though it is still a developing country. By sharing its expertise in these areas, India can urge other G20 nations to use similar techniques to transition to cleaner energy sources.
India can use its influence to support policies that encourage resilience and adaptation to the climate. Given its sensitivity to climate change, India is aware of the significance of adaptation methods for agriculture, water resources, and coastal regions. It can persuade the G20 to give these initiatives international priority by emphasising the necessity for comprehensive adaptation measures.
India can also underline the significance of climate money. India is one of the many developing nations that needs financial support to carry out climate mitigation and adaptation programs. India can advocate for additional funding for developing countries' climate initiatives from wealthy governments and the business sector. This might entail arguing for a more equitable allocation of climate financing among the G20 nations.
Another important factor could be India's leadership in the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The ISA seeks to boost the use of solar energy in nations with abundant solar resources. India can persuade other G20 members to support and work with the ISA to hasten the transition to renewable energy worldwide.
Lastly, India may encourage technical innovation and collaboration for climate solutions. To help the world's transition to a low-carbon economy, it can suggest measures that stimulate the sharing of renewable energy innovations among G20 nations.
In conclusion, India can significantly impact climate action during the G20 summit. India may influence the G20 by pushing for greater carbon reductions, promoting adaptation and resilience measures, highlighting climate finance, utilising the International Solar Alliance, and encouraging technology cooperation.
[Anjal Prakash is a Clinical Associate Professor (Research) at Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business (ISB). He teaches sustainability at ISB and contributes to IPCC reports. This is an opinion article and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.]