Trump plans to expand the G7: Experts caution India not to read too much in this

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Published: June 1, 2020 4:55 PM

On the decision to invite other countries including India, according to the US president "The G7 as a grouping is not representing properly what is going on in the world. And it is a very outdated group of countries."

Donald Trump, G7 summit,  US president, india china tension, COVID 19, donald trump, narendra modi, G7 nations,latest news on G7 summitThe focus of the summit would be to discuss with the G7 plus members on how to deal with the future of China. (File photo)

The US President Donald Trump has announced his decision to postpone the G7 summit till September and has decided to invite India, Russia, Australia and South Korea to the meet. “India should not read too much into this, as it is already a member of G-20 a much powerful grouping,” opine experts.

An official statement from the White House announced the postponement of the summit and said that “The President plans to invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India.” The focus of the summit would be to discuss with the G7 plus members on how to deal with the future of China.

On the decision to invite other countries including India, according to the US president “The G7 as a grouping is not representing properly what is going on in the world. And it is a very outdated group of countries.”

What is G 7?

The Group of Seven as it is known (G7), has the largest advanced economies of the world including Japan, Canada, the UK, France, Germany & Italy.

The decision to include India as part of the larger Grouping comes close on the heels of several face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. Both sides have been trying to resolve the issues as per the established mechanisms and communications channel.

The US has recently released a new vision document on China in which it has accused that country of exploiting the rule-based world order and attempting to re-shape the international system which would favour the interests and ideology of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP).

The report titled, ‘United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China’, has been released by the White House and it has declared that it is “responding to the CCP’s direct challenge by acknowledging that the two major powers are in a “strategic competition and protecting” their “interests appropriately”.

Experts’ Views

Says Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU, “India should not be swayed by the offer of Trump to a new club which will be called G-10 or G-11 depending on the number of members. It appears very tempting as India would be placed in the same league as the developed countries and will join the privileged elite club. However, this is not generosity but a compulsion for the West. India is already a member of G-20, a body responsible for global governance. The G-7 was expanded to the G-20 when the West realised after repeated recessions that the global financial governance was not possible without including countries such as China, India, Turkey, South Africa, Australia and so on. The current American push for a new organisation is an attempt to isolate China and split the G-20 which is responsible for 90 per cent of financial governance.”

The JNU Prof adds, “The issues of global governance cannot be resolved by excluding countries like China and Russia which exert high influence on their neighbouring countries. India already has strong bilateral relations with all the G-7 nations. While India should have no objection in joining the new club, it should not be pitted against China or Russia. Moreover, it is better for India to wait and watch for the time being as one is not certain whether Trump will come back to power after the present term. If a new president joins the White House, terms of engagement would be different.”

“The G7 has been a western club with Japan that comprises major economies accounting for over 60% of global GDP. However, over time most of these economies have been declining and their strategic outreach somewhat decimated. Trump has been at loggerheads with virtually all of them and trans-Atlantic partnership under strain. Now that China has become US’s biggest punching bag at least until the elections Trump would want to have an expanded G7 +4,” observes former ambassador Anil Trigunayat.

“Hence recognizing the strategic importance and imperatives for the US’s Asia project especially in the context of Indo-Pacific he has proposed, as a host of next Summit, to invite Australia, India, Russia and South Korea. There might be a couple of other additions depending on his ever-evolving predilection. Now at the G11 one will have all Quad or Quad+ members who might see a definitive and concrete move forward. As for Russia Trump has felt their absence as the two are working closely on various global hotspots while competing for strategic influence,” Trigunayat says.

According to him, “It will be recognition for India’s increasing international clout, importance and acceptability at the high table. Whether they will formally become the members remains to be seen but at this stage, it’s Trump’s brainchild and possibly the recognition of the limitations of G7. While he has given a different swing to the postponement of June Summit the fact is COVID 19 may have made the leaders cautious and rightly so since at the G20 they have only recently discussed the key issues and response to COVID …the real and practical outcomes of which are still awaited.”

Dr Raj Kumar Sharma, Consultant, Faculty of Political Science, IGNOU, New Delhi, says, “The US President Trump’s decision to postpone G7 summit calling it outdated and attempts to expand the grouping to include other countries like India, Russia, Australia and South Korea reflects American desire to wrest back the global leadership initiative from China as the US slowly begins to crawl back towards normalcy after the COVID-19 debacle.”

“The New Cold War between the US and China looms large over international politics and the US may try to use international institutions dominated by it and its allies to tighten screws around China. One has to wait and watch how the idea is received by different countries and what exactly the US plans to do by expanding the grouping. G7 has been overshadowed by G20 in recent years and how this new idea would match up to the G20 is not clear.”

“As far as India is concerned, this would be another testimony to India’s rise as a power of consequence and deepening of ties between India and the US. India has a good economic relationship with all the countries in G7 and the potential new ones like Australia and South Korea. It could turn out to be a useful platform for India to further intensify its links with these countries to revive its economic growth after the COVID-19 pandemic and lessen economic dependence on China,” Dr Raj Kumar Sharma concludes.

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