Throughout its presidency of the G20, India shares a vision of being the voice of the Global South and the country has ensured to walk the talk with its focus on raising concerns. “Our G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not just our G20 partners, but also our fellow travellers in the Global South, whose voice often goes unheard,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last December. When India assumed the G20 presidency on December 1, 2022, PM Modi set out various visions for the nation’s year-long presidency and the Global South was one of them. Global South is used to refer to developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, while economically developed countries such as the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, Australia and New Zealand constitute Global North. In fulfilling its ambition, India has raised the issues that were concerning the Global South countries on the international forums and at the United Nations meetings and conferences.
Recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar affirmed that India has walked the talk when it comes to raising issues of the Global South. So how has India walked the talk, when it comes to Global South? Stress situations normally provide a good indicator of intent and behaviour. “During the Covid (pandemic), Made-in-India vaccines were sent to about 100 countries. And about 150 nations imported medicines during this period from the Pharmacy of the World,” EAM Jaishankar had said while detailing how India worked to advance the cause of the Global South.
At the very beginning of its presidency, India hosted the Voice of Global South Summit virtually in January with representatives from 125 countries. India even ensured that the region remained centre stage at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima in May this year. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over the Inaugural Leaders’ session on 12 January. This was followed by eight Ministerial-level thematic segments dedicated to addressing the most pressing concerns of the developing world. The Summit wrapped up on 13 January with a Concluding Leaders’ Session also hosted by Prime Minister,” according to the statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs.
“The participating Leaders appreciated and congratulated the leadership of the Prime Minister for hosting the Summit at a crucial juncture. They expressed hope that the Summit would serve as a catalyst for building a prosperous and inclusive future for the world that takes into account the needs of the Global South,” the statement added. One of the pieces of evidence that India is voicing for Global South is adding the African Union as a full member of the G20. Recently, at the 15th BRICS Summit in South Africa, PM Modi said that the Global South is not just a diplomatic term but represents the shared history of these countries against colonialism and apartheid based on which modern relations are being reshaped. “I am grateful to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for giving me the opportunity to share thoughts with the leaders of Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the last two days, we have focussed on the priorities and concerns of the countries of Global South,” PM Modi said. “We believe that giving importance to them is the need of the current generation. We have also decided on the expansion of BRICS. We welcome all new partner countries. It is another step towards making the global institutions and forums competitive,” he added.
Later in June, keeping in view the vision of PM Modi for India’s G20 Presidency to attempt to voice the views of the Global South on important international issues, India held a two-day event on International Taxation at the National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT), Nagpur in collaboration with South Centre, a Geneva-based intergovernmental policy research think-tank of 55 developing countries, including India. In the event, the G20-South Centre Capacity Building Event on International Taxation titled “Two Pillar Solution- Understanding the Implications for the Global South’ comprised two-panel discussions on the Two-Pillar Solution and its alternatives.
The discussions during the event focussed on the ramifications of the Two-Pillar Solution for developing economies. The event also included a workshop on Tax Treaty Negotiations. This event is an initiative of the Indian Presidency to bolster capacity building for Indian tax officials of both senior and middle management levels in the area of International Taxation, with a global south perspective.