Norms and Values
India’s G20 Presidency: Expectations and Achievements

The expectation is that India’s G20 Presidency will serve as a big banner in Prime Minister Modi’s election campaign, to showcase him as a global statesman from a powerful country that can lead the G20 bloc to reach its goals by overcoming geopolitical rivalries and competitions, and bringing about consensus on a number of global issues and concerns, writes Valdai Club expert Nivedita Das Kundu.

For India, the Group of 20 (G20) Presidency is an opportunity to showcase Delhi’s diplomatic reach and leadership on global issues. The theme of India’s G20 Presidency is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which means “One Earth, One Family, One Future”. 

The G20 format was created in the 1990s, and is comprised of 19 different countries and the European Union, representing around 85 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product. In addition to its members, the G20 also invites non-member countries, including Bangladesh, Singapore, Spain and Nigeria, as well as international organisations such as the United Nations, World Health Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to attend its meetings and summits. 

The G20 includes world’s major developed and developing economies as well as powerful nations; its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. G20 meetings and summits discuss issues including trade and economic matters, climate change, health care, food and energy security, global supply chains, geo-political tensions, and how to increase the effectiveness of international cooperation.

India, during its G20 Presidency, has positioned itself as the voice of the Global South and has tried to raise issues which are pertinent to the region. However, the deep global division over the Russia-Ukraine crisis dominated the conversation in its finance ministers’ and foreign ministers’ meetings, held during February and March 2023 in New Delhi. However, India has maintained a neutral stance on the crisis and has tried to play a vital role in bridging differences between the West and Russia. India’s G20 Presidency is also seen as an opportunity for India’s ruling political party to showcase its achievements and diplomatic reach ahead of India’s 2024 general election. The expectation is that India’s G20 Presidency will serve as a big banner in Prime Minister Modi’s election campaign, to showcase him as a global statesman from a powerful country that can lead the G20 bloc to reach its goals by overcoming geopolitical rivalries and competitions, and bringing about consensus on a number of global issues and concerns.


India’s Prime Minister’s statement that “today’s era must not be of war,” was echoed in the G20 leaders’ summit in Bali, and India has been trying to bridge the differences between Russia and the United States and its allies with regards to the Russia-Ukraine crisis ever since. Nonetheless, the divisions over the crisis still stood in the way of the G20 foreign and finance ministers finding common ground during the meetings.The G20 foreign ministers’ meeting and finance ministers’ meeting covered a wide range of issues that are crucial for the global community, but the deep global division over the Russia-Ukraine crisis continues to pose a challenge to international cooperation and coordination. India’s attempt to play a vital role in mediating between Russia and the United States and its allies reflect its commitment to global peace and stability. 


India’s G20 Presidency has provided an opportunity for the country to showcase its development stories, pragmatic interventions, and proposed efficient solutions in a post-pandemic world. The G20 Presidency is also being seen as an opportunity for the ruling political party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party, to use Prime Minister Modi’s international credentials to portray him as a key player in the global order and improve his stature both at home and abroad.

India has maintained close relationships with both the USA and Russia and that was reflected in the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting and finance ministers’ meeting. These meetings were significant for discussing bilateral relations between India and China too. The visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang to India was the first since the Tawang clash, and the leaders discussed current challenges, bilateral relationships, and how to maintain peace in the border areas. The G20 Foreign Ministers Meet (FMM) also focussed on Beijing’s balancing act between the US-led West and Russia amid the Ukraine crisis. India hosted many important world leaders for G20 meetings, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. It is known that India’s ties with Russia dates back to the Soviet era, its civilizational links, defence cooperation, and people-to-people contact remains strong. They are strategic partners and trusted friends; however, India is balancing its relationship with both the US and Russia diplomatically.
India-Russia Relationship: Past, Present & Future
Nivedita Das Kundu
India and Russia have acquired a new self-confidence arising out of their rapid economic growth. As rising economic powers, both India and Russia are playing an increasingly larger role on the world stage.

The G20 foreign ministers meeting in New Delhi focused on a wide range of global issues, including climate change, food security, supply chain issues, terrorism, money laundering, small arms trafficking, drug trafficking, humanitarian assistance, and disaster risk reduction. India, as host of the G20 meetings, wanted to steer the focus away from the Russia-Ukraine crisis and towards issues pertinent to the global south. However, the Russia-Ukraine crisis dominated the meeting, highlighting deep global divisions over the issue. Despite its neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, India positioned itself as a potential mediator between the West and Russia, and a potential peacemaker. But the divisions over the Russia-Ukraine crisis proved too difficult to overcome at the G20 high level meetings in February and March in New Delhi.

India’s efforts to play a leadership role in global affairs reflect its desire to be seen as a major player on the world stage. As a member of the G20 and a rising power in Asia, India has the potential to influence global decision-making on a wide range of issues. However, as the recent G20 meetings demonstrated, achieving consensus on contentious issues can be difficult, and global divisions are likely to persist for the foreseeable future.

Trend Analyses

As India assumes the G20 Presidency, it has an opportunity to play a key role in shaping global governance and addressing the most pressing issues facing the world today. India can leverage its position to bridge the gap between the developed and developing countries, advocate for sustainable and inclusive growth, and promote the interests of the Global South.

India’s G20 Presidency can focus on promoting renewable energy, climate action, and sustainable development, which is essential for achieving the global goal of net-zero emissions. India can also champion the needs of low-income and developing countries by advocating for equitable access to healthcare, education, and technology. 

Furthermore, India can play a crucial role in advancing the digital economy, promoting digital literacy, and ensuring digital security. India’s expertise in the digital domain can help shape the G20’s agenda on cyber-security, data privacy, and digital trade.

Overall, India’s G20 presidency offers a unique opportunity to steer global governance towards a more equitable and sustainable future. India can leverage its leadership to promote inclusive growth, bridge the gap between developed and developing countries, and tackle the most pressing challenges facing the world today.

Inputs taken from G20 Foreign and Finance ministers meeting reports, discussion points including question answers sessions, and the dialogue held in Bangalore and New Delhi in February and March 2023.
India’s Foreign Policy in Evolving Geopolitical Scenario
B.K. Sharma
At a juncture when a buoyant India is well on its transition from a balancing power to a leading power, unprecedented geopolitical developments are unravelling at a fast pace in our strategic neighborhood and beyond. The three strategic shocks viz, COVID pandemic, Talibanization of Afghanistan and Ukraine crisis have impacted globalization and the world order with ramifications for India?
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.