The inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 underlines New Delhi’s efforts to build an inclusive and balanced bloc – which “echoes aspirations of the Global South” and reflects a more accurate portrait of global economic and geopolitical realities – sources said Saturday afternoon.
Bringing the African Union into the G20 was among India’s key priorities for this summit, and had first been proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June.
India’s push to include Africa – home to 60 per cent of the world’s renewable energy assets and over 30 per cent of minerals needed to develop renewable and low-carbon technologies – is also in sharp contrast to China’s ‘debt diplomacy’, sources said. The government believes its approach – to treat nations as equals – is more likely to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
Sources said New Delhi – keen to make its mark while it holds the rotating presidency of the G20 – sees the hallmark of global leadership as the inclusion of all nations in a combined march of progress.
Other nations have each tried to do something similar and only then were accepted as ‘global leaders’, and India’s era is just beginning. Prime Minister Modi’s move to champion the inclusion of Africa is therefore a “fundamentally transformative one for multiple reasons”, sources said.
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Earlier today the PM called for the overturning of a “global trust deficit” and welcomed African Union Chair and Comoros President Azali Assoumani to the G20 family; “the idea of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas, sabka prayas‘ can be a guide to the world,” the Prime Minister said.
“Before moving forward with proceedings, I would like to invite the President of the African Union to take his place as a permanent member of the G20,” the Prime Minister then said.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar then escorted Mr Assoumani to his seat at the high table, before which the African leader shared a warm handshake and hug with PM Modi amid much applause.
The addition of the African Union also reflects India’s commitment to raising concerns of the Global South at the world’s forums. “Our G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not just G20 partners, but also fellow travelers in the Global South, whose voice is often unheard,” he said last year.