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The G7 Summit and India's Role

By Manoj Motwani

The 2024 G7 Summit is being held from June 13-15 in Borgo Egnazia, located in the Apulia region of Italy. This event brings together the leaders of the seven member states, as well as the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, representing the European Union. Consistent with past G7 forums, representatives from various other states and international organizations have been invited by the nation holding the presidency to participate in the discussions.

The G7 leaders will be gathering in one of the world's most captivating locations, surrounded by the hospitality and charm of the Apulia region. As an icon of Italian excellence known for its natural and artistic beauty, Apulia has historically served as a bridge connecting the East and West. Over the centuries, this land has welcomed diverse peoples, cultures, and religions, leaving behind a rich cultural heritage.

The region's longstanding role in promoting dialogue makes it an ideal venue to bring together the G7 leaders, invited nations, and international organizations to address major global issues. The Apulia summit presents an important opportunity for G7 leaders to demonstrate their firm commitment to upholding the international order based on the rule of law, as well as to strengthening their engagement with developing nations.

The summit's agenda reflects the current global circumstances and the wide range of pressing challenges facing the international community. Consistent with the approach taken in 2023, the Italian presidency has extended invitations to select non-G7 nations to participate in the proceedings.

One such invitee is India, which has been invited to take part in the summit despite not being an official G7 member state. This builds on the precedent set in the previous year, highlighting the significance of engaging key global partners on the critical issues to be addressed.

Alongside India, several other leaders from non-G7 member countries have been invited to the summit. These include President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Argentine President Javier Milei. Additionally, international representatives such as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, officials from the IMF and the World Bank, as well as leaders from African nations like Kenya, Algeria, and the African Union, have also received invitations.

The organizers have structured the summit to facilitate constructive dialogue and collaboration between the G7 members and the invited participants, recognizing the value of diverse perspectives in collectively tackling the world's most complex challenges.

The substantive agenda will encompass six key work streams:

Session 1: Africa, Climate Change, and Development

The G7 leaders will discuss a range of critical issues, including food security, infrastructure investment, energy and climate action, addressing the root causes of migration, global supply chains, health and vaccine manufacturing, gender equality, and girls' education. Talks will also cover debt restructuring and reforms to multilateral development banks.

Session 2: The Middle East Situation

The G7 will focus on the deteriorating conditions in Gaza, calling for a humanitarian pause to enable a sustainable ceasefire. They will also work to ensure humanitarian assistance, avoid further escalation, and revive the political process towards a two-state solution.

Session 3: Russia's war of Aggression Against Ukraine

During this session, G7 leaders will reiterate their ongoing military and financial support for Ukraine. Discussions will also address the freezing of Russian assets, sanctions, accountability measures, and Ukraine's reconstruction efforts. President Zelenskyy will be invited to participate in part of this session.

Session 4: Migration

This session will address the persistent migration pressures, a key priority for Italy's G7 presidency. The discussions will cover fostering sustainable economic development in countries of origin and transit, tackling transnational organized crime profiting from irregular migration, and supporting planned, legal, and safe migration pathways.

Session 5: Indo-Pacific and Economic Security

Leaders will focus on the Indo-Pacific region, which faces rising tensions and geopolitical competition. They will reiterate their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, and discuss global trade, level playing fields, reducing dependencies, and responding to non-market policies, practices, and harmful overcapacities.

Session 6: Artificial intelligence and energy / Africa and the Mediterranean region

During this session, the G7 will address the challenges and opportunities presented by artificial intelligence. They will build upon the Hiroshima AI Process launched in 2023, advancing discussions on AI-related policies, tools, and mechanisms for the public sector. This session will also cover energy issues and the Africa-Mediterranean region.

At the conclusion of the summit, the assembled leaders are expected to issue a joint communiqué outlining their collective positions and commitments on the critical global matters addressed.

Despite not being an official member, India's economic stature is highly relevant to the proceedings. With a GDP at $4 trillion, India's economy is larger than four of the existing G7 members - Canada, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, India is one of the fastest-growing major economies globally.

India's strategic partnerships with multiple G7 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan, further underscore its importance as a global player. These longstanding ties reinforce India's significance in the international arena.

Importantly, India also plays a pivotal role in the geopolitically vital Indo-Pacific region. Additionally, India's improving relations with Italy, coupled with its established links to Russia and numerous African nations, position it as a key stakeholder in discussions on economic security, geopolitical stability, and international development.

Given India's growing economic and geopolitical significance, as well as its status as the world's largest democracy, India can make substantial contributions towards the G7's goals. India's expertise in driving digital transformation, fostering a vibrant startup ecosystem, and leading initiatives in renewable energy, particularly solar power, can help advance the G7's agenda on economic growth, innovation, and climate action. Furthermore, India's capabilities in the pharmaceutical and vaccine production sectors can bolster global health security and pandemic preparedness. Enhancing trade relations and investment flows between India and the G7 countries can also promote economic stability and job creation. Lastly, India's democratic framework and experience in managing diversity can offer valuable lessons and reinforce the G7's commitment to inclusive governance and human rights.

Upon arrival in Italy's Apulia region to participate in the G7 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his anticipation for engaging in constructive discussions with the assembled world leaders.

Modi stated that the objective of the summit is to collaboratively address the pressing global challenges facing the international community and to promote greater cooperation that will pave the way for a more prosperous future.

"Landed in Italy to take part in the G7 Summit. Looking forward to engaging in productive discussions with world leaders. Together, we aim to address global challenges and foster international cooperation for a brighter future," PM Modi posted on X.

This G7 Summit in Italy's Apulia region marks Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first official overseas visit since assuming office for his third consecutive term.

Randhir Jaiswal, the spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs, provided details on the Prime Minister's scheduled engagements and interactions with the participating world leaders on June 14th.

"Namaste! The Prime Minister of India has arrived at Brindisi Airport in Italy to participate in the G7 Summit. Tomorrow is a packed day for him. We have several bilateral meetings with the world leaders lined up," Jaiswal said in a video. "He will also be addressing the outreach session of the G7 Summit."

In his remarks prior to departing for the G7 Summit in Italy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his satisfaction that his first state visit of his third consecutive term is to Italy to participate in the G7 proceedings.

Modi highlighted his previous visit to Italy, as well as the visits to India by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, noting that these exchanges have played a crucial role in strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries. He conveyed his eagerness to engage with the other world leaders assembled in Apulia and to contribute to the discussions on the pressing global agenda items.

"I am glad that my first visit in the third consecutive term is to Italy for the G-7 Summit. I warmly recall my visit to Italy for the G20 Summit in 2021. Prime Minister Meloni's two visits to India last year were instrumental in infusing momentum and depth in our bilateral agenda. We remain committed to consolidate the India-Italy strategic partnership, and bolster cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the Mediterranean regions," PM Modi had said.

India's participation in the G7 Summit is not just beneficial for the country itself but also for the global community. By leveraging its economic strength, technological prowess, and democratic values, India can play a pivotal role in achieving the G7's goals. This collaboration can pave the way for a more prosperous, sustainable, and equitable world.

In a rapidly changing global landscape, India's proactive engagement with the G7 is a testament to its growing influence and commitment to addressing global challenges. As the world looks towards a future of shared prosperity and security, India's contributions will undoubtedly be integral to shaping a better tomorrow.

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