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The G-7 Summit 2021 And Its Importance for India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to officially attend the G-7 summit virtually on June 12 and 13th 2021, by invitation from United Kingdom’s PM Boris Johnson. This is a significant occasion not only for India, but also for Australia, South Korea and South Africa since these countries are not regular members of the Group of 7, but have been invited this time by the UK, the current President of G7.

What is the G7?

The Group which comprises the United State, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan, as its founding members and regular participants, is considered as a very strong and powerful dialogue on world issues and diplomacy. With the member countries holding 40% of the World’s GDP and 10% population, G7’s importance and soft power of its member countries couldn’t be undermined. But still, the Group is very different from other global institutions and world bodies in the sense that it doesn’t have any secretariat or Headquarters of its own, no legal existence and also its policy decisions too don’t have a binding impact on its member countries. Other than this, the G7 presidency and hosting are done in a very structured manner, with each member country getting its turn to host the summit annually.

The G7 Agenda:

The G7 countries meet every year to discuss amongst themselves, some of the most common threats and issues that the world is facing at the time. The G7 summit provides the participating countries with a platform to come up with their agendas, issues, and concerns, and to discuss them with the leaders of the world. These kinds of discussions are an important feature of any Intergovernmental Organization, and G7 has integrated them successfully into their annual meetings. Initially, when the G7 started, its main agenda catered to discussing issue pertaining to International Economic Policy, but slowly, the Agendas got diversified and now in the members meet and discuss a whole range of issues including challenges to counterterrorism, development, education, health, human rights and climate change.

The theme for this year’s meet is ‘Build Back Better’, and the UK has outlined four priority areas for its presidency: leading the global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics,  promoting future prosperity by championing free and fair trade, tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity,  and championing shared values and open societies. 

What’s in it for India?

The G7 group has always been criticised for excluding two of the major world economies India and China. Also looking at the members of the G7 grouping, there has been criticism that it is a group of “wealthy” nations. India has been invited as a special guest to the G7 summit 2021 hosted by the United Kingdom but has been a part of the meeting many times in the past, including 5 times in Manmohan Singh’s term. Also, this is the 2nd time India is being invited to G7 since 2014 after PM Modi came to power. 

India, which is a global manufacturing hub for pharmaceuticals and vaccines, is expected to be pushing for talks on global vaccine delivery. Moreover, India, which is facing a serious vaccine crunch at the moment, is also hoping to hear any announcement on the vaccines that were committed for India by the US President last week, and also the US VP Kamala Harris, over a telephone call with PM Modi. India is expecting to be getting around 2-3 million doses of vaccines in the 1st supply package from the US.

India’s invitation to the G7 summit as a “special guest” is also an important move for both India and the world, in order to curb growing Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific Region and in the world. India, which has been demanding a proper member status and recognition at the global bodies and forums, can now feel content that it is getting some of it now, and at a time when it needs it the most.

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