Lauding India’s G20 presidency last year, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the African Union’s inclusion as a permanent member of the group was the “international version” of ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’. He said that the African Union’s inclusion has spurred a debate on not just multilateralism but even on UN reforms. The EAM was speaking at the launch of the book ‘India and the Future of G20: Shaping Policies for a Better World’.
“Pleased to participate in launch of the book: ‘India and the Future of the G20’ this evening.Our G20 Presidency was a notable period in our diplomatic history. Resonating domestically, its many achievements have been widely appreciated. From getting multilateralism back on track, to fulfilling Modi’s guarantee to Africa, there is much that India should be proud of,” Jaishankar posted on X.
“Bridging multiple contradictions, our Presidency stood up for the Global South. Initiatives like SDG Action Plan, Green Development Pact, LiFE, the focus on millets, reform of multilateral Development Banks, support for Digital Public Infrastructure, Women-led development will all have lasting impact.Congratulate ISAS and the authors for putting together this volume,” he added.
Addressing the event, Jaishankar said, “Around five months ago, we had the G20 Summit. It’s been two months since India relinquished its presidency. So, it’s a natural thought for many us who were involved with the G20 to reflect on how it proceeds, how it is perceived, how it is remembered, and how it is analysed.”
The EAM further said that the Indian presidency provided an occasion for a lot of countries, who had a natural affinity for interest but somewhere had lost the sense of cohesive articulation, to get that back.
“There’s not a single African President, Prime Minister or Foreign Minister who has not thanked us for what is seen truly as a big step in Africa’s rise, a recognition today that Africa should have a voice. In fact, in a very interesting way, it has also spurred a debate on not just multilateralism but even on UN reform. I mean, the feeling is that if a body like the G20 could add a member, surely this should serve as an inspiration for other bodies, not least the United Nations,” Jaishankar said.
He also recalled an instance during the conclusion of the Bali Summit in 2022, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured then African Union President Macky Sall that India would ensure African Union’s inclusion as a permanent G20 member.
“Then President of the African Union, Macky Sall, came up, he was very agitated. He felt that the assurances that had been given that the African Union would be considered for the presidency. There was no discussion. The Indonesian presidency, much of the oxygen was taken by the Ukraine issue. He articulated his feelings very strongly, and I heard Prime Minister Modi assure him, ‘Don’t worry, we are now going to pick the baton’. So, for me, this was an international version of ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’ that he guaranteed Macky Sall that in our presidency, we will get it done,” he further added.
Jaishankar also highlighted that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appreciated New Delhi’s presidency for getting multilateralism back on the right track and refocusing on issues like sustainable development goals and digital public infrastructure.
“I had gone at the end of September to the UN General Assembly and I met Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. He was very, very appreciative of how the New Delhi summit had gone, how the G20 process had gone, because for him, really, this presidency had helped to get multilateralism back on the right track. He said whether it is the refocusing on the sustainable development goals, the international financial institution reform, the green development pact, the digital public infrastructure.
He added, “In terms of global perception, the feeling is we managed to bridge multiple contradictions: there was East-West polarisation centred around Ukraine, and there was a North-South divide, mostly on development-related issues. In that sense, we managed a delicate walk on the trapeze with the spotlight on us.”
In September of this year, India successfully hosted the G20 summit in the national capital, hosting over 40 global leaders and their delegations.
The inclusion of the African Union as a permanent G20 member was a major and historic takeaway from India’s presidency.
At the Leader’s Summit, the New Delhi Declaration was adopted unanimously with full consensus. A major standout of the declaration was bringing all global powers on the same page and forging consensus on an issue as divisive as the Russia-Ukraine war.
Throughout India’s presidency, raising the voice of Global South and developing nations was at the forefront of New Delhi’s agenda. India’s theme for the G20 Presidency was also ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, whose Sanskrit translation goes as ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.
PM Modi had said that India’s G20 Presidency has become a symbol of inclusion both inside and outside the country, adding that it has become “People’s G20” in India and crores of citizens are connected with it.