|#2037||151||August 27, 2019||By Vishakh Krishnan Valiathan|
The world leaders joined together for the international intergovernmental economic organisation called as G7 – 45th Summit in Biarritz, France in the northern hemisphere during 24-26 August this year[[i]]. The summit’s agenda as per French president Emmanuel Macron was to tackle inequalities in the social, economic and gender [[ii]] dimensions across the world. Further to this, discussions related to Amazon fires, development in the Sahel, global free trade, environment – climate change and the digital economy was taken into account. President Macron invited India along with Australia, Spain, Chile, South Africa, Rwanda, and Senegal [[iii]]. India’s invitation to the summit represents the economy’s crucial role in the current world scenario, especially in policymaking.
What brings India to the Summit?
Even though India is a member of G20, the Asian economy has grown in the last decade to be invited as a guest to major decision making events. This is primarily because of its growing relationships with other major economies and characteristic feature of its non-interventionist policy. India’s relationship with France has facilitated in its invitation for this particular G7 summit. However, the bilateral relationship between the two is commendable. The reason behind India’s special invitation is evident as the south Asian nation is one of the biggest supporters of the Paris Accord [[iv]] after France. Macron expects India’s support in environmental and climate change as well as in digital transformation in the 21st century [[v]] on which India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked on.
Apart from this, India is a signatory to France supported Christchurch Call for Action [[vi]]; they have bilaterally created International Solar Alliance (ISA) which is stationed in India [[vii]] although the infusion of technology has not gained much momentum. In the sidelines of the G7 summit, individual meetings among the leaders have been the highlight. While addressing the Indian Diaspora in Paris, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed ‘INFRA’ as the alliance between India and France [[viii]] showcasing it as an important strategic partner for the country.
India’s Expectation and Opportunities
The invitation from President Macron is an opportunity for India to showcase its serious involvement in discussing the world’s issues pertaining to the environment and climate change and on the role of the digital economy. India was expected to be questioned on the recent revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir but Prime Minister was prepared to refute with a strong defence and his request to respect its internal decisions.
However, the most important observations would be the following. One, the revival of the Iranian Deal [[ix]] would be welcomed by New Delhi. The United States (US) sanctions on Iranian oil had affected India and would like it to be resolved as it imports a large share of oil from Iran. Apart from oil imports, the development of Chabahar port -which is important for connecting Afghanistan as well, is under the radar. India expected the summit to produce a positive roll out on issues pertaining to Iran. The surprise invitation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javed Zarif to Paris[[x]] by French President Macron can be observed as countries want the tensions between US and Iran to be resolved in a faster pace for smoother economic freedom in the Strait of Hormuz and with the later. Secondly, the inclusion of Russia in G7[[xi]]- which President Trump had promised, in contrary to the strong resistance from the European Union (EU). India shares a commendable strategic partnership with Russia over the years. However, the Russian involvement in G7 to G8- as before, would be apt as a stakeholder in the world economic affairs.
India, in the long run, is expected to contribute more to the world economy and is concerned about the environmental changes across the globe. On the eve of the last day of the summit, US President Donald Trump showed positive signs on meeting his Iranian counterpart in the next few weeks [[xii]]. Surprisingly Trump’s recent harsh moves on China and changeover in a few days [[xiii]] time is interesting to the fact that on how he changes his policies according to his mood.
A Chaotic Meet to an Effective one?
Since the withdrawal of the US from Iran’s internally brokered 2015 Nuclear Deal and re-imposed economic sanctions on them, the European leaders have struggled to bring a resolution to it. France has used this platform to showcase itself as a mediator for resolving some of the major issues on its own interest but was it a productive summit is a question. More than India’s invitation, it is the individual meetings between the leaders that were held in the sidelines of the summit was crucial as Modi- Macron and Modi- Trump talks were productive as Modi convinced Trump on the Kashmir issue[[xiv]] as a bilateral issue which he agreed at the end. However, India’s expectation of the US-Iran talks might become a reality. Perhaps it is imperative that the major economies have to come to a common ground in such summits addressing issues pertaining to mankind even in the future.
[[i]] ‘Schedule’. G7 France. 1 January 2019. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://www.elysee.fr/en/g7/2019/01/01/schedule
[[ii]] ‘ Biarritz Summit’. G7 France. 1 January 2019. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://www.elysee.fr/en/g7/2019/01/01/biarritz-summit
[[iii]] “ India Invited by France to be part of G7 Meet. Here’s all you need to know about the 45th Annual Summit”. News18. 22 August 2019. Retrieved on 26 August 2019: https://www.news18.com/news/india/india-invited-by-france-to-be-part-of-g7-meet-heres-all-you-need-to-know-about-45th-annual-summit-2279705.html
[[iv]] Chaudhary, Dipanjay Roy. “Modi assures French President to make Paris Climate accord success despite scepticism of big powers”. The Economic Times. 23 August 2019. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/modi-assures-french-president-to-make-paris-climate-accord-success-despite-skepticism-of-big-powers/articleshow/70802034.cms?from=mdr
[[v]] “ A Renewed Format for the G7”. G7 France. 21 June 2019. Retrieved on 14 June 2019: https://www.elysee.fr/en/g7/2019/06/14/a-renewed-format-for-the-g7
[[vi]] Mohan, Geetha. “India signs Christchurch Call to Action to combat online extremism”. India Today. 16 may 2019. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/christchurch-call-to-action-1526118-2019-05-16
[[vii]] Koshy, Shweta Miriam. “India, France to partner in solar alliance”. DownToEarth. 5 March 2018. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/energy/india-france-to-partner-in-solar-alliance-59808
[[viii]] “ INFRA is IN+FRA, stands for India-France Alliance: PM Modi at UNESCO HQ”. DNA. 23 August 2019. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://www.dnaindia.com/world/photo-gallery-pm-modi-in-france-macron-pushes-for-india-s-permanent-seat-in-un-security-council-2784133
[[ix]] Bagchi, Indrani. “India hoping for Iran Deal, Russia’s inclusion in G7”. The Times of India. 26 August 2019. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-hoping-for-iran-deal-russias-inclusion-in-g7/articleshow/70832249.cms
[[x]] Robertson, Nick. “ Macron sparks confusion after inviting Iran’s foreign minister to G7 summit”. CNN. 25 August 2019. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/25/politics/g7-iran-zarif-france-intl/index.html
[[xi]]Bagchi, Indrani. “India hoping for Iran Deal, Russia’s inclusion in G7”. The Times of India. 26 August 2019.
[[xii]] Shear,Michael D & Baker, Peter. “At the End of a Chaotic G7 Meeting, Trump Changes his tone on China and Iran. Again”. The New York Times. 26 August 2019. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/26/world/europe/g7-trump-china-trade-war.html
[[xiv]] “ G7 Summit: PM Modi, Donald Trump agree Kashmir is a bilateral issue”. India Today. 26 August 2019. Retrieved on 27 August 2019: https://www.indiatoday.in/programme/5ive-live/video/g7-summit-pm-modi-donald-trump-agree-kashmir-is-a-bilateral-issue-1591843-2019-08-26
Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of CLAWS, Indian Army or of the Government of India.