Our position has been broadly appreciated by the international community and finds reflection in the G20 Bali declaration: Meenakshi Lekhi
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 (PTI): India’s endeavour during its G20 presidency would be to build consensus within the grouping, raise key issues of the global south and highlight the country’s 3Ds — development, democracy and diversity, the government informed Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
In a statement in Lok Sabha on the latest developments in India’s foreign policy, minister of state for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi also said the country’s advocacy of dialogue and diplomacy in the context of the Ukraine conflict has been “consistent and persistent”.
At the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had voiced global sentiment when he declared that this was not an era of war, she said.
“His (the PM’s) statement was in the context of the Ukraine conflict, where our advocacy of dialogue and diplomacy has been consistent and persistent. It has a larger resonance as well. We have also extended support on specific concerns such as supply of food grains and fertilisers, as indeed on security of nuclear installations,” Lekhi said.
“Our position has been broadly appreciated by the international community and finds reflection in the G20 Bali declaration,” she said.
The minister also informed the House that Kashi has been designated as the first SCO Cultural and Tourist Capital for 2022-23. This would facilitate showcasing of age-old knowledge inheritance, and rich social and cultural heritage, she said.
The Prime Minister also attended the state funeral of late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was a particular friend of India, Lekhi said.
“In his meeting with his counterpart, PM Fumio Kishida, the Prime Minister noted the invaluable contributions made by Shinzo Abe to strengthening India-Japan relations, as well as conceptualising the vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” she said.
Talking about the G20, Lekhi noted the Prime Minister attended the Bali G20 summit recently and thereafter, India assumed its Presidency.
G20 is the premier forum for global economic cooperation, representing around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the worldwide trade, and about two-thirds of the world population, she said.
Prime Minister Modi had noted that India’s presidency of the G20 during the year of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is a matter of pride for every Indian, Lekhi noted.
The G20 meetings have already commenced in India and the endeavour is to organise about 200 of these meetings in 32 different sectors in multiple locations across India.
The G20 Summit to be held next year would be one of the most high-profile international gatherings to be hosted by India, she said.
“The G20 is taking place in the larger context of a geopolitical crisis, food and energy insecurity, slow progress on sustainable development goals, mounting debt burden and challenges to climate action and climate justice,” Lekhi said.
“Our endeavour is to build consensus within the G20, champion causes especially of the global south, and shape the setting of the agenda. This will also be an occasion for us to highlight the 3Ds of India — development, democracy and diversity,” the minister said.
Noting that India envisages the G20 presidency as an occasion to showcase the country to the world, Lekhi said this will be done through cultural activities, regional festivals, technology programmes, sustainability initiatives, millets promotion, ‘One District One Product’, community engagement and civil society activities.
“Our presidency will witness a Jan Bhagidari (people’s participation), where all of India would not just participate but celebrate this occasion. As the House is aware, the government has briefed leaders of political parties in this regard. We see this as a truly national endeavour and seek the cooperation of everybody to make it a success,” Lekhi said.
The minister said the Indian foreign policy is there to serve the Indian people and “we will do whatever it takes to discharge that responsibility”.
“It could be in ensuring international support for our policies or in acceptance of our interests and objectives. These may be difficult times but it is also an occasion to display our leadership and make a strong contribution to global peace, stability, growth and security,” she said.