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Editorial Articles

Issue no 22, 26 August - 01 September 2023

G20 Presidency: Springboard for India's Global Vision


Dr Ranjeet Mehta

In recent years, India's meteoric rise on the world stage has been remarkable. Its exponential economic growth, coupled with its democratic foundations and vibrant culture, has made it a focal point in the international arena. India, a nation with an ancient civilisation, diverse culture, and unparalleled potential, has always been in the global spotlight for various reasons. However, the past decade has seen India emerge from being just a developing nation to positioning itself as an economic powerhouse. Presently, India is diligently leveraging its G20 presidency to firmly establish itself as a global powerhouse.

As the G20 Summit and its preparatory events near their conclusion, India has delineated an ambitious agenda on catalysing cooperation to address pressing global challenges. Observers project that India's leadership within the G20 will augment its ascending global standing and fortify its domestic economy.

Collectively, the G20 economies account for over 85% of global GDP and 75% of international trade, making the group the primary engine of global economic growth. As per World Bank data, the G20 GDP in 2022 was over $72 trillion. China and the United States remain the largest G20 economies, each generating over $20 trillion in GDP. Other major economies include Japan, Germany, India, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada and South Korea - all trillion dollar economies. With such massive economic heft, the policy decisions and initiatives undertaken within the G20 framework directly inlfuence global markets and shape international collaborations.

Why India's Presidency Matters

India's presidency symbolises the increasing acknowledgement of emerging economies' roles in the global order. As the world's fifth-largest economy (in terms of nominal GDP) and third-largest by purchasing power parity, India embodies the hopes and aspirations of many developing nations. Its leadership at the G20 could amplify the concerns of these countries on a global platform.

The G20 presidency affords India a pivotal opportunity to shape the group's agenda and demonstrate leadership on crucial global issues. As part of the BRICS block, India has articulated priorities that encompass reforming multilateral institutions, advancing sustainable and inclusive growth, promoting technological transformation, and facilitating international investments. 

With the world facing significant headwinds like decelerating growth, rising inflation, climate change, and geo-political tensions - India sees the G20 as a forum to promote global stability and prosperity. Its overarching theme of 'One Earth, One Family, One Future' underscores India's vision of universal brotherhood.

As host, India spotlights key priorities like:

·         Facilitating global investments and trade

·         Empowering MSMEs and startups

·         Spearheading digital public infrastructure and fintech

·         Advancing climate initiatives and clean energy

·         Strengthening multilateral institutions

The presidency also allows India to highlight its strengths and share models that have driven its economic rise. India has effectively utilised the G20 platform to promote financial inclusion and the development of digital public infrastructure. These are domains where India has achieved substantial progress through initiatives such as Jan Dhan, RuPay, UPI, and Aadhaar.

Boosting India's Economy

Hosting the G20 summit is expected to boost India's economic growth and investments. Previous hosts have seen significant inflows of FDI, contributions to GDP growth, and higher trade volumes. According to Morgan Stanley, India stands to gain $8 billion in exports over the next two years.


Looking back, the comprehensive series of meetings and events conducted across India in 2023 played a pivotal role in energising tourism, propelling infrastructure development, and strengthening local businesses. The anticipation was that India's G20 presidency throughout the year could draw in excess of 200,000 foreign delegates. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had urged state governments to fully capitalise on the economic advantages offered by the opportunities presented within the G20 framework. Various initiatives were also in the pipeline to showcase India as an enticing center for trade and investment.

The G20 presidency has enabled India to showcase its emerging capabilities in sectors like space, biotech, AI, and renewable energy. By spearheading discussions around frontier technologies, India could display innovative tech solutions for global issues. Events like hackathons, conferences, and global startup challenges have provided Indian startups a platform to demonstrate cost-effective business models. India also highlighted its digital public goods like Aadhaar, CoWIN, UPI, and RuPay - positioning itself as a model for digital transformation.

The presidency also offered India an opportunity to shape global narratives and bolster its soft power. Cultural events around yoga, arts, literature, and movies enabled India to project its rich civilisational heritage.  Strategic messaging has portrayed India as a modern, youthful country providing technology-led and human-centric growth - transforming global perceptions.

The G20 presidency has cemented India's position as an indispensable player in key global governance forums. The presidency has also amplified India's role as the 'Voice of the Global South' - advocating for the concerns of developing nations. By assuming leadership on pressing challenges like food and energy security, climate change, and pandemics, India expects to guide international cooperation to safeguard global stability.

Strengthening India's MSME and Startup Ecosystem

Empowering Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups has been a central focus for India, recogniasing their pivotal contribution to growth and innovation. Acknowledging that smaller enterprises required assistance in accessing credit, technology, and global markets, India, as part of the G20, has been rallying global backing to fortify the capabilities of MSMEs. Furthermore, Indian startups got ample opportunities to present their solutions on an international scale.

India established the Startup20 Engagement Group, which holds the power to influence the G20 and shape the trajectory of development by fostering innovation, promoting collaboration, nurturing entrepreneurial spirit, and ensuring social inclusion. Through collaboration with the Startup20 Engagement Group, startups from member countries could effectively identify and address significant issues in developing new products or services. The focus was on initiatives that align with business objectives and contribute to resolving social and environmental challenges.

The Startup20 engagement group offers startups a one-of-a-kind chance to enhance their global presence and foster growth. When startups enter a new market, they often face regulatory obstacles and challenges, such as navigating legal frameworks and adapting to local business practices. Startup20 has been established to play a key role in removing bottlenecks for startups and facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Building India as a Global Hub for Innovation

As India's G20 presidency nears its culmination, the platform has served as an optimal opportunity for India to solidify its role as a leader in innovation and technology. This tenure has brought unparalleled chances for India's dynamic startup ecosystem to exhibit globally applicable, scalable solutions for pressing challenges.

India's focus has been on driving collaboration in areas including digital public infrastructure, bridging the digital divide, pioneering AI and emerging technologies, fostering innovation in clean energy, and facilitating investments in startups. By showcasing its technological prowess and narratives of inclusive innovation, India has aimed to attract increased investments from foreign venture capitalists and enterprises. Strategic endeavors, such as organizing hackathons, innovation challenges, and policy dialogues centered around cutting-edge technologies, have additionally contributed to cementing India's position as a central hub for innovation and emerging technologies during its G20 presidency.

Enhancing India's Soft Power and Cultural Outreach

Capitalising on its pivotal role within the G20, India has been actively amplifying its soft power and expanding its cultural reach. A series of planned events, encompassing invigorating yoga sessions, captivating classical dance performances, and evocative poetry recitals, have provided a remarkable opportunity to immerse in and appreciate India's vibrant cultural legacy. This presidency has also facilitated strategic communication to highlight India's prowess in spirituality, arts, and its vibrant and tech-savvy youth. This concerted effort has the potential to reshape global perspectives, foster cross-cultural understanding, and present India as an alluring global destination.

Innovative approaches, like hosting G20 meetings in diverse cities, curating immersive cultural experiences for delegates, and organising cultural evenings, have effectively nurtured bilateral connections.

To summarise, India's inaugural G20 presidency carries profound significance as it culminates, given its escalating global prominence and leadership among major economies. This tenure has enabled India to adroitly address pressing issues, promote sustainable growth, and reinvigorate collaborative multilateralism. The presidency has also opened substantial avenues for ushering transformative shifts within India's economy, igniting investments, bolstering startups and MSMEs, fostering innovation, and deepening cultural engagement. Through this historic presidency, India's ambition has been to champion global stability and prosperity, further anchoring its position on the global stage. The culmination of the G20 presidency stands as a milestone in India's remarkable trajectory as an emerging global influencer. The recognition of its increasing influence and the demonstration of its leadership capabilities have been evidently showcased. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi aptly conveyed that India's aspiration isn't to burden the international community but to stride alongside it as an equal partner. Presently, India is not merely keeping pace with the world; it's forging ahead. The G20 presidency is a testament to India's leadership and offers the nation an opportunity to fully harness its potential.

(The author is Executive Director, PHDCCI, New Delhi.  You can send us your feedback on this article @feedback.employmentnews@gmail.com)

Views expressed are personal.