Modi at G7 summit: Spotlight on India Indispensable

MUNICH: In the bracing mountain air of Schloss Elmau, the luxury resort nestled in the Bavarian Alps close to Munich, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join the leaders of the world’s seven most advanced economies as a special invitee to shape the global agenda on existential issues facing the world today.

Mr Modi was welcomed by a Bavarian band on his arrival in Munich on June 26 and was showered with a hero-worshipping crowd of Indian community.

While G7 leaders will be intensely engaged in discussions on how to punish Russia for invading a sovereign European country, PM Modi, fresh from International Yoga Day celebrations back home, will be a picture of calm and reason. As the leader of the world’s most populous country, he is likely to keep his distance from geopolitical machinations surrounding the Ukraine crisis and will confine himself to speaking on more earthly issues such as climate change, energy and food security which has also been swamped by geopolitical calculations. The invitation to India to participate in the G7 summit as a special invitee is becoming a regular affair, underscoring India’s growing indispensability to addressing global issues, ranging from maintaining the rules-based international order to curbing terrorism and green house gas emissions.
“India’s regular participation at the G7 Summits clearly points to increasing acceptance and recognition that India needs to be a part of any and every sustained effort to find solution to solve the challenges, global challenges in particular which are being faced by the world,” said India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra, encapsulating New Delhi’s rising global stature.

For PM Modi, the G7 is becoming a familiar global turf as he also participated in the two previous summits in Biarritz in France and Carbis Bay, Cornwall in the UK. With the G7 leaders listening in, he is expected to press for fast-tracking global governance reforms and a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council. In particular, he will root for a greater say for emerging economies such as Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and Senegal in global governance institutions. The leaders of these countries have also been invited to the G7 summit as outreach partners.

Ukraine Tightrope: On the Ukraine crisis, PM Modi may find himself coming under pressure once again as the G7 leaders prepare additional sanctions against Russia.    The G7 leaders are expected to  come out with a strong denunciation of Russia’s “unprovoked and illegal” war of aggression against Ukraine and join hands to defend the rules-based international order. The G7 summit will announce short-and-long term financial support for Ukraine  and also unveil some steps to mitigate severe food and energy crises created by the Ukraine crisis.

As India is not a member of G7 but an outreach partner, PM Modi will not speak much about the Ukraine crisis in his remarks at the G7, but is expected to pledge India’s support in mitigating the food and energy crisis. But PM Modi is expected to hold his own and is unlikely to bow to pressure to either downgrade ties with its all-weather partner Russia or to curtail its oil imports from Russia. Taking such a fiercely independent stand has made India vulnerable to charges of being an outlier and has alienated some sections of the West, but New Delhi has refused to budge and calmly asserted that it has the right to make independent decisions in the interest of national energy security. This straightforward no-nonsense stand has been resented by some, but at the same time has earned appreciation from many as well.

In fact, India’s positioning and manoeuvring on the Ukraine issue crystallizes India’s diplomacy of multi-alignment whereby it judges each global issue from the prism of national interest and forges informal coalitions with like-minded partners. This policy of multi-alignment is epitomised in India’s astute juggling of Quad and BRICS – the two plurilateral groupings which have sharply different agendas and orientation.

Climate is Changing: The centrepiece of the G7 summit will be an ambitious agreement on curbing climate change and a landmark decarbonisation agreement to shape what German President Scholz has called “climate-neutral economy.” The German president is expected to push for the establishment of a “climate club” – a partnership of the countries with the highest ambitions for climate policy worldwide. On the issue of climate change, India is aligned with the G7 agenda. In his intervention at G7 summit, PM Modi is likely to underscore India’s commitment to decarbonization and ramping up the production of renewable energy.  He is expected to reiterate India’s commitment to achieve the target of Net Zero by the year 2070. India has chosen to be a trailblazer in greening of the economy rather than an outlier, as used to be the case only a few years ago. India has achieved the target of 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol five months before the deadline.

Officials said that India will support a proposal by the United States and Germany, on behalf of the G7, for setting up an India-G7 partnership to fund and support India’s transition from a fossil-based economy to a carbon-neutral economy, confirmed. The partnership will be announced at the G7 summit, officials confirmed.

Checkmating China: The G7 summit in Germany will focus a great deal on constraining China’s assertiveness and rule-bending hegemonistic behaviour in regions around the world. In this context, G7 summit leaders are expected to exhort China to pursue peaceful settlement of disputes and to abstain from threats, coercion, intimidation measures or use of force. Much to annoyance of Beijing, the G7 is expected to voice concerns over the human rights situation in China, particularly in Xinjiang and Tibet.

As for India, PM Modi is unlikely to speak explicitly about China at the G7 sessions, but will call for respect for national sovereignty and international rules-based order, a subtle but obvious critique of Chinese policies. In his bilateral discussions, PM Modi is expected to brief the leaders of G7 countries on the continuing India-China standoff in Ladakh.

Looking ahead, PM Modi’s participation in the G7 summit will pave the way for the presidency of G20 summit India assumes later this year. A new India has emerged on the global stage, which has deftly aligned soaring national aspirations with its international obligations. It’s in the interest of the world to take this new India along as it crafts imaginative approaches to global challenges.

(Manish Chand is CEO-Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, and India and The World magazine. He is Director, Centre for Global Insights India, a think tank focused on global affairs. Chand is in Munich to report on and analyse G7 summit. )


Author Profile

Manish Chand
Manish Chand
Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network ( 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.