G20 : COVID provides India the opportunity to reclaim leadership

Photo : zeenewsindia.com

By Mrgya V

G20 2020 can help setting new equilibrium in the world

The 2008 global financial meltdown exposed the realities of neoliberal world order. Similarly the Covid 19 crisis exposes the realities of the need for cooperation instead of protectionism in the new world order.

From sidelining Iran through accusation, raising a wall on the US Mexico border, changing the visa laws for immigrant workers, trade war with china and finally breaking the connections with WHO are few examples of growing protectionism in the world, with USA leading the pack.

Protectionism will further lead the way to a less transparent and responsible world. The example we can see in the US`s move to get out of the Paris treaty. This sets a template for other countries to follow and get rid of their responsibilities.

This  phase of new world order does not respect the spirit of sovereignty of countries as the are psychologically not free to profess and are directly or indirectly affected by others. These situations come in cycle when one ideology starts affecting the whole world, grows to its utmost and then its climax happens. The climax gives birth to a new ideology or  new order. 

One such event happened during cold war times. Non cooperation movement came into existence during the cold war phase. It acted like a revolutionary ideology of smaller nations or third world countries. In those tough times also the philosophy behind our foreign policy, like the panchsheel principles, which act on mutual force and not on coercion, was intact. These policies helped other nations to get out of the dilemma of choosing either the U.S. or USSR.

During the current phase of growing protectionism, the world witnessed a pandemic Covid-19. This crisis became an opportunity as some of the shackles of protectionism broke. A few countries came together to cooperate with each other and a few countries helped other smaller countries to cope with  the issues generated during the pandemic .

One event, the G20 summit 2020 which was held virtually last weekend – is a step ahead in the direction of balancing the world order in an unstable equilibrium. Collectively , the G20 economies account for around 90% of gross world product(gwp), 80% of world trade, two- third of world population, and about half of world land area. This group contains developed as well as developing countries. Countries with ageing populations and countries with growing populations. The two big partners of this group are fighting with each other on trade deals and there are a few who are following them either by making groups with big players or following the same strategy with their trading partners.

With its large human resource and market, India has the capacity to play a vital role in world economics. India’s growing population can be seen as a boon for the ageing world. India can cooperate with the developed countries to provide them the required human resource for their production needs as well as their service sector needs. What India’s growing population  needs is skill and technology. Future of job report by the World economic forum also says the future jobs will be technology driven. That’s why PM Modi in his G20 session speech focused on skilling people.

“While the emphasis over the past few decades has been on capital and finance, the time has come to focus on multi-skilling and reskilling to create a vast human talent pool”, PM Modi said according to MEA.

India has huge human resources and as PM Modi said the need is for multi-skilling and reskilling of people. India’s cooperation with other countries can help in overall as well as generating the market for those produced products.This mutual cooperation between countries can prove to be a good step that can help in coping with the current economic crisis due to the current pandemic. It will generate employment one one side and demand on other.

Famous economist, Arvind Panagariya has recently stated that export is key for India’s growth. As we share only 1.7% in global trade, even if the overall economy of the world slows down, we have scope to double our export growth.

PM Modi also talked about introducing new indexes  which will check the transparency of the world on the basis of four indicators – creation of a vast talent pool, ensuring that technology reaches all the segments of the society, transparency in systems of governance and dealing with Mother Earth with a spirit of Trusteeship. 

What India needs is to revise its history of determination and peace one more time. What it did at the  time   of the cold war, it needs to act similarly now also. It can play a firm role in maintaining sovereignty, security and peace in the world.

Just as the Panchsheel principles were based on mutual benefit, these new changes will also be for mutual benefit only. The space created due to trade war between the U.S. and China can be used by India for its own benefit as well as for the world.

During the cold war era we were a newborn nation yet we played a vital role to save our sovereignty as well as of the other third world countries. Time for India to reclaim the leadership again.


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