As the US was left isolated on key agenda of climate change here at the G20 Summit, Indian Sherpa Arvind Panagariya today quipped that discussions were cordial in this “closed group of friends” and objects didn’t fly in the room. “We had cordial but tough discussions. It is a closed group and we all are friends here. But, that doesn’t mean that being friends you will sacrifice national interest,” he said on last day of the summit. “There was no flying of objects in the room,” Panagariya quipped.
To a question on the US being isolated as 19 members of this group of 20 asserted that the Paris Agreement was irreversible, he said there were differences but it is not about someone getting isolated but the Europeans certainly had a much stronger position. Panagariya also said India maintained its position on climate change that it needs time to progress eventually to fully clean fuel. According to him, India had a major influence on counter terrorism declaration, and also on discussions about trade and investment, migration and various other key issues at the G20 Summit.
Originally, there was a plan to put an annexure to joint statement for counter terrorism but India made a strong pitch for this being a stand alone document and named as a leaders statement, Panagariya said. Except for the climate change issue where the US had a different position than others, Panagariya said there was a broad consensus on all other key issues among the G20 leaders, including on ways to revive global growth in an inclusive manner.
On international financial architecture also, the leaders resolved to make necessary quota reforms and to ensure proper representation, Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Tapan Ray said. The issue of international cooperation on financial matters also got strong support and India contributed in a strong way on this agenda, said Ray, who led the Indian side on finance track of the G20 proceedings. Panagariya said the negotiations on final communique took almost four times longer this time around, which may also be attributed to the change in governments in the US and some other member countries. Besides, there were differences on some issues that took time to be ironed out, he added.
Panagariya, who is also the vice chairman of government think tank Niti Aayog, said negotiations took a lot of time on issues like climate change, trade and investment and migration. The communique this time also talks about reciprocity and non-discrimination when it comes to trade liberalisation, he noted. Ray said there was a broad consensus among the G20 members on revival of global growth and the communique emphasises on structural reforms, inclusive growth and job creation. Further, he said the G20 leaders agreed on implementation of the IMF quota reforms and of bringing a new quota formula by 2019 besides, stressing upon the international cooperation on tax matters and financial information.