“Vasudava Kutum Bakkam.” There is a deep philosophy in these two words. What they mean is: “The world is one family”. It is an all-encompassing perspective that encourages us to progress together as one family, across borders, languages and ideologies.
During India’s G20 presidency, this has translated into a call for people-centred progress. As one planet, we work together to nurture our planet. As a family, we support each other in our pursuit of growth. It is an undeniable fact of this interconnected age that we are moving together towards a common future — one future.
The post-pandemic world order is very different from the world before it. Among other things, three important changes have occurred. First, there is a growing recognition that we need to move from a GDP-centric worldview to a people-centred worldview. Second, the world is waking up to the importance of global supply chain resilience and reliability. Third, there are growing calls to promote multilateralism through reform of global institutions.
Our G20 presidency has been a catalyst in all three of these transitions.
In December 2022, when we took over the presidency from Indonesia, I wrote that the G20 must promote a mindset shift. This is especially necessary in the context of mainstreaming the marginalized aspirations of developing countries, the global south and Africa.
The Global Southern Voices Summit in January 2023, with 125 countries participating, is one of the most important initiatives of our presidency. This is an important event to gather opinions and ideas from the countries of the global south. In addition, our presidency of the G20 not only saw record levels of participation from African countries, but also promoted the African Union to become a permanent member of the G20.
A connected world means that our challenges across domains are interconnected. This year, midway through the 2030 Agenda, many have noted with great concern that progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been off track. The “G20 Action Plan to Accelerate the Promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2023” will point out the future direction for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by the G20.
Harmony with nature has been the norm since ancient times in India, and even in modern times we have been doing our part for climate action. Many countries in the global South are at various stages of development, and climate action must be a complementary pursuit. The ambition for climate action must be matched by action on climate finance and technology transfer.
We believe there is a need to move away from a purely restrictive approach to “what not to do” and towards a more constructive approach that focuses on what can be done to combat climate change. The Chennai High Level Principles for a Sustainable and Resilient Blue Economy focus on keeping our oceans healthy. During our presidency, a global ecosystem of clean and green hydrogen and green hydrogen innovation centers will emerge. In 2015, we formed the International Solar Alliance. Now, through the Global Biofuels Alliance, we will support the world in its energy transition and enjoy the benefits of a circular economy.
Democratizing climate action is the best way to give momentum to the movement. Just as individuals make everyday decisions based on their long-term health, so they can make lifestyle decisions based on their impact on the long-term health of the planet. Just as yoga became a global mass health movement, we move the world forward through Sustainable Environmental Lifestyles (LiFE).
Ensuring food and nutrition security is also critical due to the impacts of climate change.millet, or shri anna, can help achieve this goal while also promoting climate-smart agriculture. In the International Year of Xiaomi, we bring Xiaomi to global tastes. The Deccan High-level Principles for Food Security and Nutrition are also helping in this direction.
Technology is transformative, but it also needs to be inclusive. In the past, technological advances have not benefited all segments of society equally. Over the past few years, India has shown how technology can be used to narrow rather than widen inequality.
For example, the billions of people around the world who are unbanked or lack digital identities can access financial support through digital public infrastructures (DPIs). The solutions we build with DPI are now recognized globally. Now, through the G20, we will help developing countries adapt, build and scale up the DPI to unleash the power of inclusive growth.
It is no accident that India is the fastest growing large economy. Our simple, scalable and sustainable solutions empower the underprivileged and marginalized to lead our development stories.
From space to sports, from economics to entrepreneurship, Indian women lead in every field. They shift the narrative from female development to female-led development. Our G20 Presidency is working to bridge the gender digital divide, close the workforce participation gap, and empower women to play a greater role in leadership and decision-making.
For India, the G20 presidency is not just a high-level diplomatic endeavor. As the mother of democracy and exemplar of diversity, we open the door to this experience to the world.
Getting things done on a massive scale has become an Indian quality these days. The G20 presidency is no exception. It has become a people-centred movement. By the end of our tenure, we will have hosted more than 200 conferences in 60 Indian cities across the country, hosting nearly 100,000 delegates from 125 countries. Never has a presidency covered such a broad and diverse geography.
It’s one thing to hear about India’s population, democracy, diversity and development from others. Experiencing them in person is quite different. I’m sure our G20 representatives will testify to that.
During our G20 presidency, we are committed to bridging differences, removing barriers, and sowing the seeds of cooperation to foster a world where unity overcomes discord and a shared destiny transcends isolation. As G20 Chair, we are committed to expanding the global negotiating table to ensure that every voice is heard and every country contributes. I am sure we have translated our commitments into action and results.
Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.