G20 summit 2023 for the first time is being hosted by India. This summit will have profound strategic implication for India. As a fast growing economy India has surpassed Britain as the 5th largest economy in the world. If she continues this momentum in time she may surpass France to become the centerpiece in the global political stage and emerge as a global leader. India's Presidency of G20 commencing on 1 December 2022 puts India in the global spotlight.

G20, which took its current shape in 2008, is seen as an effective global governance forum and an increasingly influential voice in the world economy. Its relevance is evident when compared to existing global governance institutions that are unequal to the challenge of tackling contemporary geopolitical tensions and crises such as climate emergencies. The G20 members represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

India's strategic goal for G20 is to promote its economic and political interests on a global scale. As part of its good neighbourhood policy, there will be more than 200 meetings on a range of topics during the G20. India will also organise the G20 foreign ministers' summit, which will be held in New Delhi on 1-2 March. Bangladesh Foreign Minister along with eight other countries have been invited. Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen in Delhi for the meeting, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will be on hand. In addition to the host Foreign Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen is expected to meet those on the schedule to discuss matters of mutual interest.

India has emerged as the voice of the global south. The global south's primary needs are capital, technology and capacity building to address issues of underdevelopment, poverty and climate change. India now has the challenge of bringing together the leaders of both the global south and the global north, reducing the gap, so issues can be resolved more efficiently.

Accelerated economic growth is key issue. In December, World Bank stated that at the end of 2021, external debt of the heavily indebted poor countries totaled $9 trillion. It blamed rising interest rates and slowing global growth for the debt crisis, adding that about 60% of the poorest countries were already at high risk of debt distress or already in distress. As G20 president, India will focus on areas where it can bring in structural transformations, propelling greater growth, prosperity and equity.

One key ingredient is increased trade. Expanding protectionism and trade barriers had already impacted the world economy before the pandemic severely disrupted supply chains. India believes that the rules-based multilateral trading system is a force of good, helping big and small countries, including developing ones. Increased trade will achieve inclusive growth, sustain innovation, create jobs and help make progress in sustainable development goal targets.

The New Delhi G20 summit will be a good opportunity for India to showcase its public digital platforms that can be modified and scaled up or down to help governments provide essential public services to citizens. The world over, there is a realisation that digital technology is a driver of economic growth and empowerment across sectors. The world needs new, knowledge-driven and innovative approaches to tackle complex challenges, and digital technologies present us with the tools to deal with some of them.

Just like trade, investment too is a driver of global growth. A prerequisite for attracting investment is a conducive climate that takes into account the needs of businesses and workers and creates a win-win situation for investors and the entire economic ecosystem. The pandemic resulted in the loss of jobs worldwide, pushing millions into poverty. India, too, faced a difficult situation which resulted in the government formulating the Code on Social Security, 2020.

India will aim to expand on this commitment during its presidency. India supplied foodgrains to countries in its near and extended neighbourhood during the pandemic in the spirit of its G20 presidency's theme of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - One Earth, One Family, One Future. To cope with the impact of climate shocks on farming, India promoted climate resilient varieties of crops, specifically millets. Acting on India's proposal, the United Nations declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets. India could also use the G20 platform to highlight some measures it took to further the economic well-being of its farmers.

The Ukraine war has provided India with strategic leverage to consolidate its global position than never before. New Delhi has the opportunity to test its clout and credibility in dealing with the fragmented global order. India has diplomatically managed to take a neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine issue without attracting any sanctions from the West. While the country has provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine, it's still buying cheap crude oil, steel, fertilisers and other materials from Russia. India has been working closely with the US and its allies with Washington offering hi-tech defence technologies at discounts. Now, bringing Russia and other global powers to the table and together finding a solution is the biggest challenge for India. Though the Russia-Ukraine war is a security issue, which doesn't figure in the agenda of G20, global economy has suffered from the war, which makes it significant for the G20 members to discuss this issue.

The G20 Presidency in addition to G20 member nations also invites guest countries and international organisations to G20 meetings and summits. Bangladesh is one of the guest nations invited by India to the upcoming G20 summit, which will be held in New Delhi in September 2023.

India has invited nine crucial strategic allies from across the world. And Bangladesh is the only South Asian country invited to the G20 summit, highlighting its growing strategic significance. The invitation, which comes amid a series of energy and connectivity initiatives between the two nations, is likely to enhance ties further.

Bangladesh is significant to the G20. Under the charismatic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, it's economy is quickly expanding, with GDP growth rates of approximately 7%. International financial institutions have projected that by 2030 Bangladesh will be the 24th largest economy in the world. It will become a developed country by 2041. In Economic Development Index, Bangladesh is one of the top five countries. It as an emerging voice from the global south may utilise the G-20 summit to advocate for strategically significant issues like climate change, the Rohingya Refugee crisis, the food and energy crisis.

Bangladesh can be a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia. It provides India with strategic leverage to create a regional hub connecting Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and China through both land and sea. It has been playing the role of the vanguard in domains like the blue economy, environment, poverty alleviation, and SDGs. At the G-20 summit, Bangladesh can engage with the top nations on its climate and refugee diplomacy.

India's ongoing presidency of the G-20 grouping is a unique opportunity to strengthen the country's role in the world economic order when countries across the globe are facing various challenges. It also needs to be remembered that India's G20 presidency comes at a very critical juncture. There is an expectation that India, the fastest-growing large economy in the world, which has implemented some of the most innovative and far-reaching measures to improve governance and living standards, will be in a position to contribute solutions to the global challenges of the day. As a bridge between the developed and developing worlds, India stands ready to share its experience for the good of the world community.

Waliur Rahman is an author and researcher.

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