India's G20 Presidency will remain focused on economic development issues and endeavour to bring all the member countries, including Russia and China, on board amid the ongoing geo-political uncertainties, G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said on Thursday. Addressing 'Times Network India Economic Conclave', Kant further said that during the G20 Summit here in September, there is a need to remain focused on objectives of economic development and leave politics to the United Nations (UN) and United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
"We are living in the world of politics, but we should be clear of our objectives... We remain focused on economic development and economic growth that is India's priority," he said while responding to a question on forging consensus at the G20 Summit.
India assumed the presidency of G20 for one year from December 1, 2022, to November 31, 2023. The G20 Summit will be held in New Delhi on September 9-10.
"So, we will bring everyone around...We are very hopeful. Our objective is to really bring all the 20 countries, including Russia and China, on board and find a way out," Mr Kant said. He also said that for the first time, India is setting the agenda for G20, and the whole world is responding to its positive and constructive initiatives.
Mr Kant further said as G20 President, the job of India is to bring consensus on a vast range of issues, including economic and developmental issues, which are impacting the emerging markets of the world.
"If you look back over the years, in the last five or six decades, we have actually responded to an agenda set by the developed world always. "This is the first time that India is setting an agenda for G20, which accounts for about 85 per cent of the global GDP," he said.
The Group of Twenty (G20) is an intergovernmental forum, comprising 19 countries and the European Union. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the US and the UK are among other members.
"So, we are setting the agenda, and the world is responding to that agenda.
"And therefore, we picked up a very positive, very constructive development agenda, which takes care of emerging markets, which takes care of the global south and takes care of very human-centric, global development," the former Niti Aayog CEO said.
Responding to a question on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Mr Kant said the war is an important issue for Europe. He pointed out that Covid-19 has left 200 million people below the poverty line, 100 million people have lost their jobs, 75 countries in the world are facing a global debt crisis, and 1/3 of the world is in recession.
Mr Kant further said the world is facing a crisis of climate action and climate finance. "These are very important issues for emerging markets and developing countries. These issues need to be brought to the centre stage, not just the issue," he emphasised.
Responding to criticism that India is not on the right side of history as it has not directly condemned Russia, Kant said India looks at the world as a whole. "We should not end up getting caught in just one issue. It's very important to look beyond this issue to understand what the citizens of the world are confronted with and find a solution to the challenges." Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The Russian action has been widely condemned by the US-led West.
"If we get just caught up in that one issue, we will be forgetting all the other challenges, which both emerging and developing countries are confronted with," he said, adding that it is very important to focus on all these issues.
Noting that the war is the challenge, Mr Kant said that irrespective of what is happening in one part of the world, the world needs to move on.
"Because we must understand that there is a cost of living crisis, there's inflation.
"There is a challenge of post- COVID era, and if we are not able to use our leadership to provide relief to huge segments of the population then we'll be failing," Mr Kant opined.
He asserted that India will never get obsessed over one issue.
Pointing out that the third G20 tourism working group meeting in May in Kashmir was a phenomenal success, India's G20 Sherpa said, "Other than China, everyone was present".
G20 members represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade and about two-thirds of the world population.