G20 Summit in Delhi: Why It Matters

Presidents and prime ministers are meeting for the annual G20 leaders’ summit in India’s capital, Delhi, from 9-10 September.

The main theme for the meeting is sustainable development, but the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is also expected to be discussed.

What is the G20?
The G20 – or Group of Twenty – is a club of countries that meets to discuss global economic and political issues.

Between them, G20 countries account for 85% of the world’s economic output and more than 75% of world trade. They contain two-thirds of global population.

The G20 members are the EU plus 19 nations: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US.

A smaller group of G20 member countries meets as the G7.

Why was the G20 set up, and why does it matter?

The group was founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis. It was designed to be a forum for finance ministers and officials to discuss ways to restore economic stability.

The first leaders’ summit was held in 2008 in response to that year’s financial turmoil, to promote international cooperation.

The G20 has broadened its focus in recent years to include issues such as climate change and sustainable energy.

Every year, a different G20 member state takes over the presidency, and sets the agenda for the leaders’ summit.

What will the G20 summit be about and who is attending?

As 2023 president, India wants the summit to focus on issues such as:

sustainable development
“striving for just and equitable growth for all in the world”
debt forgiveness for developing countries

US President Joe Biden is likely to talk to leaders of developing nations about proposals to reform the World Bank, which could result in more money being available to them to spend on infrastructure, as well as measures to tackle climate change.

A lot of the negotiations are likely to take place in one-to-one meetings between leaders on the sidelines of the main hall.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi would like the summit to promote his country as a major global power, and himself as an important world leader, ahead of a general election due in spring 2024.

He will try to make sure that it is not dominated by rows about the war in Ukraine, as happened at the 2022 summit in Bali, in Indonesia.

Arguments about the conflict meant there was no joint statement at the end of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting held in Delhi in March.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not attend the summit. He is sending his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.

China’s President Xi Jinping will also stay away. The premier, Li Qiang, is going in his place.

Which other issues may prove difficult?

In May 2023, China and Saudi Arabia boycotted a G20 meeting on tourism, which was held in Indian-administered Kashmir, because the Kashmir region contains territory claimed by Pakistan as well as India.

A row has also recently broken out between India and China after Beijing released a map that claims the state of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin plateau as Chinese territory.

The US has asked China to set aside its tensions with India and play a “constructive role” at the summit.

What has the G20 achieved?
At the 2008 and 2009 leaders’ summits, during the financial crisis, leaders agreed a host of measures to rescue the global economic system.

But some critics argue that subsequent summits have been less constructive, often because of tensions between rival world powers.

However, one-to-one meetings between leaders have often proved constructive.

For example, at the 2019 summit in Osaka, then-US president Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to resume talks to settle a major trade dispute.

What are the security issues at G20 summits?
G20 summits attract anti-globalisation protests.

India’s government has been ramping up security measures ahead of the Delhi event.

Roads have been closed around the venue, and 130,000 security officials are being deployed across the city.

Novel measures have also been taken to try to keep troublesome monkeys away from the area.

Delhi has a huge monkey population and authorities want to stop the animals from disrupting the summit.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *