Far from the clamour of Delhi, in a tranquil Andaman and Nicobar Island resort, more than 40 diplomats and officials from international organisations got a privileged preview of priorities and preparations ahead of India’s G20 presidency.
It was a briefing with a difference – yoga on beach, beach-cleaning, blowing of the conch-shell and a scintillating cultural programme blended to give a flavour of India’s G20 presidency and the country’s soft power to visiting diplomats.
In the run up to India assuming the G20 Presidency on December 1, G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant and Chief G20 Coordinator Harsh Vardhan Shringla briefed diplomats on the substantive, operational and logistical aspects of various G20 interactions during India’s Presidency. “Made a presentation to all Ambassadors & Head of Missions on G20, India’s growth & development story and how we plan to make our Presidency ambitious, action oriented and decisive,” Mr. Kant said in a tweet. “Apt to hold this event in the beautiful & historic Swaraj Dweep, as India is on the cusp of taking over G20 Presidency from our neighbour across the Andaman Sea,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on social media.
In the context of multiple challenges facing the world today, Indian officials outlined key priorities of G20 presidency in areas: (i) public digital goods and digital infrastructure; (ii) climate action, climate finance and technology collaborations; (iii) clean, sustainable, just, affordable and inclusive energy transition; (iv) accelerated progress on sustainable development goals; (v) women-led development; and (vi) multilateral reforms.
Mr Shringla, India’s G20 Chief Coordinator and a former foreign secretary, briefed Missions about the extensive arrangements for G20 meetings across India, and facilitation for participation of delegates. At the end of the briefing, OSD(Operations) Muktesh Pardeshi and AS(G20) Abhay Thakur answered a range of queries from Missions on travel, visas, protocol, security and participation of invitees, said India’s Ministry of External Affairs in an account of the briefing held in Swaraj Deep.
For diplomats, who were flown in a chartered plane, the visit to Andaman and Nicobar island resort was a rejuvenating experience. In sync with PM Modi’s emphasis on holistic health and sustainable lifestyle, delegates also took part in a yoga session, followed by a beach cleaning activity, which symbolized India’s pro-planet and One Earth approach.
Delegates also visited the historic Cellular Jail at Port Blair, where a large number of our unsung heroes were imprisoned for the cause of India’s freedom struggle.
Opportunity for Global Good
Days before India formally takes over chairship of the 20-nation grouping, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underlined that the G20 presidency is a huge opportunity for focusing on global good. “For India, it is a huge opportunity. India must utilise opportunity of G20 leadership by focusing on global good and welfare,” PM Modi said in his latest radio address entitled, “Mann Ki Baat.” India will assume the presidentship of the influential grouping G20 on December 1, 2022.
At the end of the G20 summit in Bali on November 16, Indonesian President Joko Widodo had symbolically handed over the G20 presidency to PM Modi. “India is taking charge of the G-20 at a time when the world is simultaneously grappling with geopolitical tensions, economic slowdown, rising food and energy prices, and the long-term ill-effects of the pandemic,” he said at the closing session of the summit. “At such a time, the world is looking at the G-20 with hope. Today, I want to assure that India’s G-20 presidency will be inclusive, ambitious, decisive, and action-oriented.”
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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