India’s role in G-20
India has emerged as an important member of G20—able to contribute and influence the reshaping of the world economic and financial order. India has an ambitious multi-pronged agenda for the G20 summit in September 2016; ranging from deploying global surpluses for infrastructure development, inclusive development, energy efficiency to global action to mitigate terrorism and black money. India’s core agenda at the summit would centre on stable and sustainable global growth for employment generation, stable financial markets and global trading regimes. According to India’s sherpa at the G20 Summit, the country will push for poverty eradication and sustainable development, besides trade and investment.
Although trade and investment have always been on the G20 agenda, China is trying to take these to a higher level; therefore, it is imperative that India connects these to the issue of poverty. It will push for cooperation in clean energy to end fossil fuel subsidies in the medium term as demanded by developed countries including the US. Automatic exchange of information among countries to check black money is also a top-priority item on its agenda; though there is an agreement among G20 countries on this issue, there has been hardly any concrete progress. There is also the issue of base erosion and profit sharing (BEPS), which refers to tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low- or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, and which therefore result in little or no overall corporate tax being paid. The BEPS is of utmost significance for countries, like India, due to their reliance on corporate tax, particularly from multinational enterprises.
India, among the strong emerging economies at the G20 summit this year found a focus on terrorism as well as climate change as major issues, as it also highlighted what it considered some of its achievements and reforms in the sectors of economy such as the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). On the sidelines of the event, with bilateral talks as well as the BRICS informal meet, India raised similar issues in addition to which country-specific issues were also raised.
For India, in recent diplomatic international forums as well as bilateral meets with countries such as the UK, Germany, US and Israel, terror has been the highlight of discussions. As a crucial transnational threat to security, terrorism is an issue that is of growing concern to people across the world, and thus also an important arena for enhancing cooperation to fight against. At the G20 Summit being held in Hamburg, Germany, counter-terrorism measures emerged as one of the crucial points of discussion for India.
India’s role in G77
Since the 1960s, the countries of the developing world have approached international negotiations together as the Group of 77, or G77. The G77 has steadily demanded greater participation in international politics. Member-states also argued that negotiations should lead to international agreements that enhanced their development possibilities. After 2000, several countries in the G77 grew economically and politically to take on larger roles. The BASIC countries – Brazil, China, India, and South Africa – emerged as a coalition in 2009 that has teamed up to address climate change negotiations together. At the same time, they maintained their ties with the G77 and continued to negotiate within it. This article asks how the rise of the BASIC coalition affects the status of the G77 and its members’ ability to achieve their central goals in the negotiations: a seat at the table and resources to support their sustainable development aspirations.
India has always backed the demand of G77 countries that the developed world start helping poorer nations cope with the “loss and damage” from extreme climate events like Typhoon Haiyan that ravaged the Philippines but stopped short of a hardline stand.
The G77 — which has expanded to 133 nations since the group was formed nearly half a century ago.
The Warsaw talks are tried to lay the foundations for a global accord meant to be agreed in 2015 and enter into force from 2020. The rich fear it would be costly and make them legally liable for droughts, heat waves and storms. For poorer countries, the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan earlier this month has raised the urgency of compensation.
India is a member of the G77. But it holds an independent position since 2009 when, along with emerging economies like Brazil, South Africa and China, it formed the BASIC group that worked with developed countries to reach the unofficial Copenhagen Accord, a set of decisions that included creation of a Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The G77 and China want a separate mechanism for compensating loss and damage under the UNFCCC as tagging it with the GCF, they say, would increase competitiveness. The GCF funding from 2020 will have an annual ceiling of $100 billion.
Most observers have seen a relationship of mutual benefit or at least mutual dependency between the members of the G77 and BASIC. In general, the G77 is seen to benefit from the greater visibility and negotiating weight of its larger and wealthier members, while the BASIC countries avoid isolation and gain legitimacy for their demands when they are couched within the G77’s agenda. On the other hand, this article shows that many members of the G77 appear to have some concrete disadvantages from asserting similarity with the BASIC countries.