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Relevance of ‘G-7 summit 2021’ for India

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    14th Jun, 2021

This year’s summit of the Group of Seven industrial countries hosted by the United Kingdom in the picturesque Cornwall region promises to be a definitive moment in the political evolution of the West.

The summit, which saw the digital participation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also marks an important step towards a new global compact between India and the West.

Context

This year’s summit of the Group of Seven industrial countries hosted by the United Kingdom in the picturesque Cornwall region promises to be a definitive moment in the political evolution of the West.

The summit, which saw the digital participation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also marks an important step towards a new global compact between India and the West.

Background

  • This year G-7 summit happening at a time when global economy is facing its worst crisis since the great depression of 1930 due to the global covid pandemic.
  • Unlike last year when the scheduled summit in the USA had got cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak, this year summit is being conveyed physically which itself reflects a sense of hope.

Analysis

What is G7?

  • The G7 (Group of Seven) is an organization of the world's seven largest so-called advanced economies.
  • They are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States.
  • Representatives from the European Union are usually present while India, South Korea and Australia have also been invited this year.
  • The UK is holding the G7 presidency for 2021 so this is where the summit is taking place at the Carbis Bay Hotel near St Ives in Cornwall.
  • Ahead of this year's summit, the G7 finance ministers agreed to make multinational companies pay more tax (minimum of 15%).

Key takeaways from this year summit

2021 summit is the first global tour of newly elected US president Joe Biden after assuming office.

  • Multilateralism: US signaled return of multilateralism as the core theme of American foreign policy. Joe Biden “America is back “slogan signifies re-strengthening trans- Atlantic alliance with members of G-7 like U.K, France, Germany and Italy.
  • New Atlantic Charter: President Biden and PM Boris Johnsson signed the “New Atlantic Charter” which updates the previous war time charter signed between their predecessors Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.
    • Unlike the previous charter which is directed against Nazism of Hitlers Germany this charter address 21st century challenges like climate change, bio-diversity, AI, cyber operations etc.
  • B3W initiative: Rise of China and its growing competition with west dominates this year G7 summit. “BUILD BACK BETTER WORLD “B3W initiative is launched to support infrastructure investment in low- and middle-income countries is seen as a counter to China’s belt and road initiative which is accused by western countries of promoting predatory financing.
  • Global taxation: Another key theme of this year summit is to make globalization more functional through steps like proposing a minimum 15% tax on multinational corporations and commitment by G7 countries to make available 1 billion doses of Covid vaccines.
  • Carbis Bay Declaration: Another key initiative is “CARBIS BAY DECLEARTION” which aims at tackling future pandemic within 100 days thus signifies importance of public health in current geopolitical scenario.

G7 history

  • As the world reeled from the first oil shock and subsequent financial crisis, the heads of state and government of the six leading industrial countries met in 1975 at the Chateau de Rambouillet, France, for the first time to discuss the global economy.
  • They were joined in 1976 by Canada and in 1998 by Russia.
  • Following the Russian annexation of Crimea, the G7 nations decided in March 2014 to meet without Russia until further notice.

India’s stake in this year G7 summit

  • India has been invited as special guest at 2021 G7 summit along with south Africa, Australia and South Korea. This invitation comes at a time when India relation with China is under severe strain due to last year Galwan incident and subsequent military standoff at LAC.
  • In March this year India also participated in QUAD leader’s Summit. Both this development signifies a growing convergence among India and West to counter balance China.
  • Further, this year invitation is also a continuation of India long term desire of becoming part of global high table of diplomacy.
  • Commitment of USA to provide 500 million covid vaccine without any strings attached also come as a breather to countries like India who are emerging from deadly second wave of covid and grappling with acute shortage of vaccines.
  • Signing of new Atlantic charter is a key stepping stone in India interaction with the west since during signing of last charter Britain PM Churchill specifically excluded Indians from the principles of self determination which form the core of previous charter.
  • This had poisoned India’s relation with west in its initial years and cast a long shadow of mistrust in years to come.
  • New Atlantic charter deals with challenges like climate change, biodiversity, rise of authoritarianism in which India is a key stakeholder thus can hold the promise of heralding a new chapter in India relationship with the west.

Challenges

  • Expected conflicts of interest: The growing convergence of interests between India and the West does not mean the two sides will agree on everything as there are many areas of continuing divergence from the economic role of the state to the democratic regulation of social media and the technology giants, etc.
  • Difficult convergences: The broad convergences between India and the West into tangible cooperation will not be easy. It would require sustained negotiations on:
    • converting shared interests
    • reforming the global economic order
    • mitigating climate change
    • promoting greener growth
    • making the world immune to future pandemics
    • constructing trusted supply chains, into concrete outcomes

Conclusion

As China is seemingly the greatest obstacle to India’s global ambitions besides threat to the territorial sovereignty, a better relation with the West is a requirement for India.

Looking east and mobilizing the south have been India’s default geopoliticalorientations. While Delhi continues to strengthen its partnerships in Asia and the global south, a more productive partnership with the West helps secure a growing array of India’s national interests and adds a new depth to India’s international relations.

In this scenario, G7 summit and invitation to India is a welcome development.G-7 summit is an opportunity to expand the global dimension of India's growing partnerships with the US and the West.

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