‘Welcome to be stuck in 1983’: Jaishankar's dig at Oppn over G20 prep criticism | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

‘Welcome to be stuck in 1983’: Jaishankar's dig at Oppn over G20 prep criticism

Sep 06, 2023 12:03 PM IST

Jaishankar said that events were conducted across Indian cities so that different parts of India would have a sense of participation.

Prime Minister Modi felt that the G20 Summit should be treated as a “national endeavour” which is why the union government has been working on elaborate arrangements, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said in an interview aired on Wednesday. Speaking to news agency ANI, Jaishankar attacked the opposition saying if anyone believed the G20 events should have been in Lutyens' Delhi or Vigyan Bhawan then it was their prerogative but the Modi-led government is different from previous governments.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (Twitter/G20)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (Twitter/G20)

He said, “If somebody felt that they were most comfortable in Lutyens' Delhi or completely comfortable in Vigyan Bhawan - that is their prerogative. That was their world. So, yes you have had Summit meetings where the impact of the country probably went 2 kilometres, on a good day, out of Vigyan Bhawan. This is a different government. It's a different era. It's a different thought process.”

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The 18th G20 Summit, in which the heads of states will meet on September 9 and 10, will be held in India's national capital New Delhi. Over 25 world leaders along with other delegates are going to attend this mega event.

Jaishanakar argued that events were conducted across Indian cities so that different parts of India would have a sense of participation. He also noted that most of the states where the G20 events took place were not ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party government but by Opposition governments.

Jaishankar said, “Prime Minister felt that and all of us have worked in that direction that the G20 is something that should be treated as a national endeavour, that different parts of India must have a sense of participation and that this is something which has been truly non-partisan.”

“For those who feel that we should be stuck in 1983, you are welcome to be stuck in 1983. I am sorry the country has moved on, we are in 2023,” he added.

India assumed the rotational G20 presidency on December 1 last year. The 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi will be a culmination of all the G20 processes and meetings held throughout the year.

Speaking on the effect of G20 on the country's youth, Jaishankar said, “One of the big pluses of the G20 is how the people of India, especially the young people of India, have gotten interested in foreign policy and they need it. This is a globalised era. It is an era where the opportunities can be very global and the problems too, as we saw during Covid, can be global. As part of the transformation of India, we need to create a global awareness in this country and I think the G20 has been helpful in it.”

The Group of Twenty (G20) comprises 19 countries - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom and the United States and the European Union. The G20 members represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

Jaishankar on G20 expectations:

Speaking on the expectations from the upcoming G20 Summit, Jaishankar said, “Today the expectations of the world are very high in terms of what the G20 is able to produce, and produce in terms of meeting the challenges of the world.”

He added that it was a responsibility for India in a very difficult world in terms of the COVID impact, conflict impact, climate impact and debt.

“There is a very sharp north-south divide. There is an even sharper east-west polarization. So how do you bring people together? How do you find common ground? How do you make everybody understand that we all have a bigger responsibility and therefore please, can we kind of get our act together here and do what is right by the world.”

Major issues for upcoming G20:

Calling it a “home stretch”, Jaishankar said that things are getting ready and negotiations and arrangements are in place by several G20 members.

He added that there were several longer-term structural issues as well as emergent issues to be discussed during the G20 event.

“There is a mix of issues that the world is looking at and the burden is on the Global South and on developing countries. One very important message for us is to focus on the Global South. But there is a larger context. The context is of a very turbulent global environment, the impact of COVID, impact of the Ukraine conflict, issues like debt which have carried on for some time and climate disruptions which are today affecting the economy as well.”

‘No other G20 presidency made effort to bring developing countries on the table’

Speaking on whether the Global South countries saw India as a credible voice, Jaishankar said that there have been several G20 Summits before however, no other G20 presidency has made an effort to get the developing countries together, who are not on the table and asked them to express their concerns.

He said, “We will distil those concerns and place them before the G20...So, if we have taken the trouble and we mean Prime Minister Modi himself. Outside the G20, India has a reputation for being a very constructive player. Someone who bridges, divides, who kind of somewhere helps to fix problems. So, there is a lot of goodwill that we have. I am confident that every one of the G20 coming to Delhi will understand the responsibility that they bear and will understand today that the other 180 countries of the world are looking to them to set directions and that they cannot afford to fail them.”

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    Sanskriti Falor is a Senior Content Producer at the News Desk of HT Digital. Having worked in Digital Media for the past two years, she is interested in covering civic issues and global affairs.

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