G20: India puts energy and food security at the center of its presidency

Posted November 17, 2022 9:00 am

from 1er In December, India will chair the G20. Between the global recession announced for 2023, rapid inflation and the war in Ukraine… there are many challenges for the world’s sixth largest economy.

Even if Narendra Modi at the G20 in Bali called for a “ceasefire and diplomatic path” in Ukraine, there is no question for New Delhi that the G20 will become a forum dedicated solely to conflict resolution. India’s representative to the G20, Amitabh Kant, made it clear a few days before the summit: “The issue of war and conflicts should be discussed in the UN Security Council. The G20 is a forum for building consensus around development, growth and finance. »

A path full of pitfalls

These statements, which correspond to Moscow, may come as a surprise. However, they are consistent with India’s position vis-à-vis Russia. Namely: Refrain from directly criticizing Russian aggression for fear of seeing Russian oil flows and weapons dry up. However, the Ukraine issue has taken such a place in Bali that it will be difficult for India to ignore the issue.

“The G20 summit will be an important milestone for the country’s democracy and diplomacy, giving India a key leadership role on the world stage. But the path is fraught with pitfalls, both economically and geopolitically,” the Mumbai-based think tank India Council on Global Affairs concluded in a note published in early November.

Practice your diary

Despite geopolitical tensions, Indian decision-makers see the upcoming G20 sequence as a unique opportunity for the continent to enact its priorities. “Until now, India had to follow the agenda proposed by the developed countries. The chairmanship of the G20 will allow us to propose a global agenda for the first time,” said Amitabh Kant.

What’s in this diary? So far, India has not announced an official roadmap. But this Tuesday in Bali, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted at some of his priorities.

Energy and food security

The first is to ensure the country’s energy security. According to the Hindu leader, this is “crucial” for global growth as India is experiencing the highest growth rate in the world. “We should not encourage any restrictions on energy supply and the stability of the energy market should be ensured,” he insisted at the summit.

Modi’s other priority is food security. “Today’s fertilizer shortage is tomorrow’s food crisis,” he warned, urging leaders to protect fertilizer and grain supply chains badly affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

Climate finance

Before the UN General Assembly at the end of September, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also warned that the environment would be one of the main topics of the Indian presidency. New Delhi should emphasize climate finance. At COP27, Indian diplomats had already called for more help from developed countries to support the transition of southern countries.

In Bali, Narendra Modi reiterated, “Affordable financing and sustainable technology supply to developing countries are essential to ensure an inclusive energy transition.”

Digital transformation

The Prime Minister on Wednesday said digital transformation, which he believes is the “most important change of our time”, will be one of the strong themes of his Indian presidency. “Good use of digital technologies can increase the power in the fight against poverty,” he said. In this field, India can boast of making great progress in recent years.

The debt issue of poor countries should also be on India’s agenda. “We will work towards a global consensus on all these issues,” Modi said.

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