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G7 and India’s hopes and aspirations

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By: Aabid Sheikh

The leaders of G7 countries finally meet at Cornwall, southwest UK for their 47th summit. The theme, this year, is ‘Build Back Better’ concerning Corona virus pandemic and creating a greener and more prosperous future. The focus areas will be Corona virus vaccine distribution, climate change, free and fair trade besides other things. There is a possibility of G7 countries pushing for global coordination on minimum corporate tax (15%) and clamp down on tax heavens.

The G7, which includes, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, United States and Canada was set up in 1975 (as G6, Canada joined in 1976) as an informal forum bringing together the leaders of the world’s leading industrial nations. Russia was inducted in 1998 but later its membership was suspended in 2014 after it annexed Crimea (Ukraine).

The main focus of the G-7 summits is to discuss and deliberate on global economic governance, international security and energy policy and it represents 58% of Global net worth ($317 trillion), 46% of Global GDP (nominal), 32% of Global GDP(PPP). The seven countries involved are also largest IMF-advanced economies in the world.

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, will be participating in outreach sessions of UK-hosted G-7 virtual summit in view of the Corona Virus situation in India. This is the second time that Indian PM will be participating in G7 meet.

India has been a strong advocate for reforming global institutions and groupings to reflect modern-day geopolitical realities. Former US President Donald Trump’s offer to expand G7 fitted into India’s idea of being part of the global high table. With an assertive China round the corner, the US is calling all like-minded countries to partner in dealing with China who is flexing its military muscles in south-China sea and playing diplomacy in Asia as well as Africa.

How is G7 important for India?

Relations with G7 and future inclusion of India in an expanded forum could further India’s security and foreign policy interest, epically at Nuclear Club and permanent seat at UNSC.  The proposal of inclusion of India, Australia and South Korea will strengthen India’s position against aggressive China and will be a check to its expansionary foreign policy.

USA’s interests in Indo-pacific and Quad members (India, Japan, Australia, USA) inclusion within G7 will further boost security cooperation in Indo-pacific region.  The expansion of G7, with inclusion of India, South Korea, Australia will further strength inclusive and rule-based world order.

Issues within G7

To stay relevant, G7 will have to overcome many issues currently facing; non-inclusive; there is no representation from Africa, Latin America and southern hemisphere, G-20 and its rise is seen as an alternative to G-7, US hegemony in G7 and its internal conflict with other members of G7, Re-inclusion of Russia which is very close to China.

Although, a close relationship and a future inclusion in G7 weighs in India’s favor, there have been concerns raised by foreign policy analysists and strategic experts that India is leaning too much towards western powers could create a power imbalance in Asia. This would also lead to deterioration of India’s relations with China. India needs to be conscious and pragmatic while its dealing with G7 without hampering its relations with G20 and especially with its all-weather friend Russia and its Neighbour China.

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