As India assumed the presidency of G-20, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said New Delhi’s endeavour would be to make consensus on key global issues more relevant through a wider process of consultation.
Addressing the G-20 University Connect initiative, the first event of India’s presidency of the grouping, Jaishankar said it would also be India’s endeavour to emerge as the voice of the global south — comprising Asia, Africa and Latin America -– that has to face the brunt of polarisation and conflict in the developed world.
“As the mother of democracy, India’s G-20 presidency will be consultative, it will be collaborative and it will be decisive,” he said addressing university students at the Sushma Swaraj Bhawan here.
Students from several universities had joined the event virtually.
“Our G20 Presidency is taking place at a very critical moment in international affairs. It is particularly vital that world leaders focus on the right issues, especially those that affect the more vulnerable sections of the world,” Jaishankar said at the event that was attended by students from 75 universities across the country.
He said India would flag concerns on issues such as energy security, food security, access to healthcare, climate action and climate justice during the G-20 presidency.
“We must become the voice of the Global South. We share too the apprehension that sustainable development, climate action and climate justice could be side tracked due to more dominant issues,” Jaishankar said.
“India has to take the lead in pushing for collective action and that is exactly what we intend to do at G-20,” he said.
Jaishankar said India’s G20 Presidency was taking place at a very critical moment in international affairs and it was particularly vital that world leaders focus on the right issues, especially those that affect the more vulnerable sections of the world.
“G-20 is a diverse platform that seeks to forge common ground on key issues among prominent countries. Our endeavour is to make that consensus more relevant through a wider process of consultation,” he said.
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Jaishankar said harmonising various interests was something that has been deeply ingrained in India’s history and culture.
“We have long been a pluralistic and consultative society which have debated issues openly before we arrive at a decision. Since this is deeply ingrained in our DNA, we have never been insecure with diversity. Our essential unity is not only the basis for pluralism, but also a source of confidence for engaging the world,” he said.
He said India will also shine the spotlight on Misson LiFE, with its associated, environmentally sustainable and responsible choices, at the level of individual lifestyles as well as national development.
The G-20 University Connect event was also attended by UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar, Amitabh Kant, the Sherpa for the G-20, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s Chief Coordinator for G-20 and P K Mishra, the Principal Secretary to the prime minister.