Posted on



This year’s G-20 summit is being held at a time of grave global distress. Multiple fault-lines are threatening to derail the global order and there is no leadership around the world that seems capable of rising up to the challenges of our times. Donald Trump is busy being Trump, threatening to rip up global frameworks without offering any real alternative. The European Union is coming to terms with own dysfunctionalities at a time when it is being challenged from within and without. The United Kingdom is so mired in a political mess of its own making that it is unclear if it can even think of anything beyond the next leadership contests for the post of prime minster. China is facing an economic crisis which even with all the centralisation of power in Xi Jinping is finding it difficult to manage. And Russia has no larger interest than challenging the US and the West at every possible platform. In more ways than one, India is well-positioned to make its presence felt.


  • The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU).
  • Founded in 1999 with the aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability
  • G20 has expanded its agenda since 2008 and heads of government or heads of state, as well as finance ministers and foreign ministers, have periodically conferred at summits ever since. It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.
  • Membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union. The EU is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank. Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 90% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), two-thirds of the world population, and approximately half of the world land area.

The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”. After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed on discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.

  • The group has no permanent staff of its own, so every year in December; a G20 country from a rotating region takes on the presidency.
  • That country is then responsible for organising the next summit, as well as smaller meetings for the coming year.

They can also choose to invite non-member countries along as guests. The first G20 meeting took place in Berlin in 1999, after a financial crisis in East Asia affected many countries around the world.



Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.


Theme 1: Global Economy: Even though the G20 was originally established in response to the global financial crisis, its core mission today is to establish economic fundamentals for realising sustainable and inclusive growth of the global economy. It discusses concrete actions for strengthening growth potential. It also discusses the areas of international taxation and finance. The summit takes up issues of how to respond to economic and social structural changes bought by globalization and digitalisation.

Theme 2: Trade and Investment: The second theme for the summit is trade and investment, within which the summit discusses the importance of growth, productivity, innovation, jobs creation and development. The G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy held in Tsukuba city on June 8 and 9 focuses on the following issues:

  • Dialogue on current international trade developments
  • A sound Business Environment that promotes market-driven investments decisions
  • Promotion of trade and investment that contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth
  • WTO Reform, recent developments in Bilateral and regional trade agreements

Theme 3: Innovation: Under the framework of the third theme, which is Innovation, the summit will take up the following application:

  • Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT)
  • Human-centric AI
  • Digital security
  • Digital for SDGs and inclusion

With this, the presidency also suggested discussing the importance of social application of emerging technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), robotics, and big data, which contribute to fully harnessing the opportunities brought about by digitalization, as well as to achieving a “Society 5.0″ and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Theme 4: Environment and Energy: The fourth theme for the summit is Environment and Energy, which will include the following points:

  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Environment (Marine plastic litter)

Theme 5: Employment: The fifth theme will revolve around ‘Employment’ and will include the following points:

  • adapting to demographic change
  • promoting gender equality in labour markets
  • exchanging national polices
  • practices in response to the new forms of work

Theme 6: Women’s Empowerment: Women’s empowerment has been a hot topic in not only the G20 summit but in every other summit happening all over the globe. This year, the G20 summit will highlight the following aspects under women’s empowerment:

  • Implementation of G20 commitments including those related to women’s labour participation.
  • Enhancing support for girl’s and women’s education including STEM( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
  • Engagement with women business leaders and entrepreneurs

Theme 7: Development: The 7th theme of this year’s summit is ‘Development’ which will include some major points, which includes:

  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Accountability
  • STI (Science Technology and Innovations) for SDGs
  • Quality infrastructure for connectivity enhancement towards sustainable development
  • Human capital investment

Theme 8: Health: The last and final theme is ‘Health’. Global health is an important topic for basic sustainable growth of the global economy. This year WHO is invited to the Osaka Summit. The three important elements include:

  • Achievement of universal health coverage
  • response to aging society
  • management of health emergencies


  • India is concerned about financial stability, artificial intelligence, energy security, reforming multilateralism and common efforts to address terrorism at the summit
  • The latest G20 is being held a time when the very idea of multilateral talks to manage global affairs and resolve disputes is at threat as read from Trump’s tweet.
  • Negotiations to get waiver for S400.
  • Burning issues of international consequence, such as the US-Iran standoff over the latter’s nuclear ambitions and the trade spat between the US and China, could eclipse other matters listed for discussion (women’s empowerment, energy and the environment, among them), but even so, India has a chance to voice itself on various things affecting the country and the rest of the world.
  • US and China trade war talks.
  • At this forum back in 2008, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had spoken about countering the Great Recession as an economist, prompting global commentators to commend the expansion of what was earlier a much smaller group of countries with large economies.
  • While coordinated action to rescue the world economy was the challenge ten years ago, now it is mostly about issues on which a convergence of views is far more difficult. Still, there are some issues that India is expected to push that could find listeners.
  • Apart from a series of bilateral meetings with other countries, India may also go ahead with a couple of trilaterals (RIC=Russia-India-China and JAI=Japan-America-India) on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Balancing relations appears to be the objective. In a world turning too fractious for its own good, neutrality could hold power.


India has gone into the G-20 summit with an expansive agenda in mind to focus on “discussing the major challenges and opportunities faced by our world today with other global leaders” as “women empowerment, issues related to digitalisation and artificial intelligence, and progress in achieving SDGs and in our common efforts to address major global challenges such as terrorism and climate change form the rich agenda of the Summit.

India is also viewing this G-20 summit as an important stepping stone for India to host the G20 summit in 2022, on the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. So clearly, India has great expectations from the G-20. Whether the G-20 in Osaka will be able to deliver still remains an open question.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Call Us