Shaktikanta Das, Former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on Monday was appointed India’s G 20 Sherpa for the Development Track of the Summit until December 31, 2018. There are two tracks in G20 — the Finance Track and the Development Track. “Finance Track is managed by the Secretary (Economic Affairs), Ministry of Finance, as India’s Deputy to G-20 and the Development Track is coordinated by the Sherpa. The Department of Economic Affairs will provide necessary support to the Sherpa,” it added. Former Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya had suggested to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find a full-time Sherpa for G20 talks as India’s role is expanding in the global arena. Panagariya was appointed India’s Sherpa for the G20 talks in September 2015, replacing the then railway minister Suresh Prabhu.
A Sherpa is a personal representative of the leader of a member country at an international Summit meeting such as the G8, G20 or the Nuclear Security Summit. The Sherpa engages in planning, negotiation and implementation tasks through the Summit. Task is to coordinate the agenda, seek consensus at the highest political levels, and participate in a series of pre-Summit consultations to help negotiate their leaders’ positions. Sherpas are career diplomats or senior government officials appointed by the leaders of their countries. There is only one Sherpa per Summit for each member country; he/she is assisted by several sous Sherpas.