French President Emmanuel Macron ended the G20 Summit with a social media post that highlighted the theme of India’s G20 Presidency. His post stated,“Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. The world is one family. Le monde est une seule famille.” This clearly illustrated how India managed to successfully leverage on symbolism and semiotics to unleash the full might of her soft power at the Summit.

India’s cultural diversity and heritage was on full display at the Bharat Mandapam Convention Centre during the summit. A 28-feet statue of Nataraja graced the entrance of the Centre sporting a plaque that read “Embracing Eternity”.President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed guests at the state dinner on Saturday against a backdrop that showcased an image of the ancient Nalanda University, representing its centuries old knowledge.

What does the G20 summit hold for domestic investors?  What does the G20 summit hold for domestic investors?  

 Riding on the Sun    

On Saturday morning, a replica of the Konark Wheel, the Sun God’s chariot wheels that represents progress and continuous change, took centrestage. It was against this backdrop that PM Modi greeted world leaders. Modi also took time to explain the significance of the Konark Kalchakra, which also symbolises India’s spiritual depth, to US President Joe Biden.

During the summit, a slew of artworks were displayed at the Centre’s hallway including a sculptural installation titled ‘Surya Dwar’. India also showcased the “Cultural Corridor” at the venue. India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant in a post on Sunday stated that it is a unique collaborative project to celebrate shared culture and heritage. Designed as a phygital museum, the Corridor had submissions from all G20 nations and nine invitee countries and showcased thematic curation of tangible, intangible and natural heritage of human civilisation, he added in his post.

Another image that fascinated many was PM Modi leading world leaders including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz barefoot to Rajghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence. 

Brand India

Business strategist Lloyd Mathias said India didn’t just host the G20 summit with panache but used it to effectively showcase its soft power. “From getting international delegates to use India’s UPI by preloading their mobile wallets; to the millets on offer at the banquets – India extended its warmth and hospitality beyond the official sessions with relevant symbolism to announce its place in the world,” he said adding that such subtle semiotics made it a memorable Summit. 

Business and brand strategy expert Harish Bijoor said, “India has a lot to say and a lot to showcase in a world that is just about waking up to soft-power and its strengths in a challenged world.The G20 summit was a great occasion to do this and India’s soft power is being showcased at just the right point of time to a global audience that is only just ready to absorb its value.”