India’s G20 opportunity

Chance to lead

G20 India. Representational image (iStock photo)

The contemporary world is swiftly morphing into a multipolar world. A cornerstone for such international relations dynamic is the presence of multilateral forums where sovereign nations come together and chart the course for the future while navigating through persisting circumstances. A relevant example is the G20 where the member states, spanning continents and demographics, come together, have discourses, and formulate policies that help navigate various geopolitical and political economic shocks. The Covid 19 pandemic and the current Ukraine crisis are the most visible and relevant examples of such shocks.

The G20 presidency thus presents itself as a position of responsibility, with the onus on the president-nation akin to that of a captain of a ship tasked with charting a course through the often-treacherous waters of the international negotiation-high seas. This is further complicated by the fact that each member of the G20 is a sovereign entity with its own domestic contexts and problems that have an impact on how it perceives the decisions and policies within such forums.

India being the president nation for the G20 since December 2022 has taken up the task of ensuring not only a fluid and fruitful summit but is also using it as an opportunity to establish a new way of looking at international relations – one that is guided by globalization of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One Earth, One Family, One Future).


The goal for India should be leveraging its strong suits – diplomacy, multilateral ties, the economic and geo-strategic potential of the Indian Ocean region – while simultaneously evaluating the stakes as well as vested interests of the other member states. It is also pertinent that the G20 may be an exclusive group, but the decisions and policies formulated here do have an impact on the rest of the world.

India has favorably positioned itself as a flag bearer of climate policies that look at redefining the current energy systems to push for a strong pivot towards clean energy – all with the challenges that accompany moving a large population to a new way of perceiving energy independence.

Similarly, India is also carving a niche in its way of handling the WestEast dichotomy, carefully evading decisions that may have negative impacts upon India’s position in the bilateral international domain. Multilevel diplomacy of India, such as its role in forums such as the I2U2 (a forum for economic cooperation among India, Israel, the UAE and the United States), the Quad (the IndoPacific Quadrilateral Dialogue among Australia, India, Japan and the United States) in addition to ASEAN Plus Six and other such multimodal groupings, furthers India’s role in bringing about global order on topics of significance, and currency, alike.

In the current G20 system, India has introduced the Finance Track – governed by the respective Finance Ministers and the Central Bank Governors along with their deputies. In the Finance Track, issues regarding the global economic outlook and shocks, international tax regimes and the like will play a pivotal role. Other crucial concerns include the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war which caused various supply chain and value chain blockages. India must build upon the recent legacy within the contexts of the presidency of the G20 and carry forward the drive for a global economic recovery.

Additionally, India has also introduced the Sherpa Track which includes 13 Working groups comprising experts from the relevant ministries that engage in high level and highly precise discourses on various international agendas of relevance.

The G20 summit, in addition to the above, also puts the spotlight on India in the soon to be followed COP 28 where it can continue discourse on climate finance and intergenerational equity-based traction it can gather in the G20 summit. The discourses can guide India and the globe to a new multipolar world order where negotiations can be compartmentalized on priorities and scale going forward. 

(The writers are, respectively, a Ph D student at Stanford University and a public policy analyst.)