In this episode of the BusinessLine State of the Economy Podcast, Amiti Sen talks to Dr. Biswajit Dhar, trade expert, on the outcomes of the recent G20 Summit held in Delhi, India. The focus of the discussion revolves around the joint communique issued during the summit, its significance, and its potential impact on the Global South.

The G20 Summit featured leaders from India, Washington, and around the world, gathering in Delhi and managing to reach a consensus on a joint communique. This was a remarkable diplomatic feat, as Indian negotiators successfully persuaded Western nations and the Russia-China duo to compromise on language regarding the Ukraine conflict. The joint communique was celebrated for acknowledging the importance of global South issues and not letting them be overshadowed by global concerns.

Dr. Dhar considers the achievement of a joint communique as a significant one. There were concerns that the summit might not produce any declaration, which would have posed a threat to the G20’s cohesion. India’s role in bringing the 55-member African Union to the table added to the complexity, making the declaration’s success crucial.

However, when dissecting the contents of the joint communique, Dr. Dhar expresses disappointment. The declaration lacks substantial provisions for developing countries, particularly in areas such as debt restructuring and financial support. Debt restructuring is vital, especially for low-income countries, many of which are members of the African Union. Addressing their debt burdens is critical to achieving sustainable development goals. The joint communique’s framework for debt restructuring is deemed inadequate, as it does not involve private creditors or multilateral development banks.

Moreover, the summit discussed issues like climate change, biofuel alliances, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. While these are important steps toward addressing environmental challenges, Dr. Dhar highlights the need for concrete actions beyond mere commitments.

The podcast also delves into the announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor, which promises to boost trade between India and the European Union. However, concerns arise about the allocation of resources, as India has previously invested in infrastructure projects in its eastern flank.

One of the significant developments during the summit is the admission of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20. While this is a commendable step toward greater representation for the Global South, the key question remains: what will these countries gain from sitting at the high table, and how will India ensure their interests are properly represented?

In conclusion, the G20 Summit’s joint communique is seen as both an achievement and a missed opportunity. It underscores the importance of global South issues but lacks substantial provisions for developing countries. The success of the summit hinges on tangible actions to address these issues and ensure equitable representation of the Global South within the G20.