The African Union’s induction into the G20, a grouping of the world’s 19 most influential nations and the EU, is now formal with Prime Minister Narendra Modi inviting its representative Chairperson Azali Assoumani to take a seat at the table of G20 leaders as a permanent member on Saturday.

It is diplomatically a feather in the cap for India as it has been championing the cause of the ‘Global South’ throughout its Presidency of the G20 this year and the extension of G20 membership to the AU was one of the primary tasks it had set out for itself.

“In the spirit of taking everyone along, India had proposed membership of the G20 for the African Union. I believe that all G20 members are in approval of the proposal. With everyone’s approval, before moving on to other proceedings, I invite the head of the African Union to take a seat on the table as a permanent member of G20,” Modi said in his opening speech of the G20 Summit on Saturday.

The African Union comprises 55 members representing all countries of the African continent. It has now become the second bloc, after the EU, to have permanent membership of the G20.

Almost all top leaders from G20 nations, including UK PM Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Australian PM Anthony Albanese, French President Emmanuel Macron, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are in Delhi attending the two day Summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are, however, absent and are being represented by Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov respectively.

African Union’s membership into the G20 will now be part of the Joint Communique that the G20 leaders are expected to endorse and issue on Sunday.