G20: India to host the summit in 2022, Modi builds better relations with China and Italy in Argentina

India will host the G20 Summit in 2022, when the country will celebrate its 75th year of independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday during a meeting of G20 member nations in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

By Elton Gomes

India will host the G20 Summit in 2022, when the country will celebrate its 75th year of independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday during a meeting of G20 member nations in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“It’s India’s 75th Independence Day in 2022, and we had requested Italy if we can get ’22 instead of ’21 (for hosting G20 summit).They accepted our request, others accepted it too. I’m grateful and I invite leadership from across the world to come to India in 2022,” Modi said at the summit, according to a report in the Economic Times.

Initially, Italy was supposed to host the global summit in 2022. After Italy agreed to let India host the summit in 2022, Modi thanked the European country for doing so.

Japan is scheduled to host the summit in 2019, followed by Saudi Arabia in 2020.

The prime minister underlined that the group of 20 nations had completed 10 years, and he hailed the cooperation among the members that restored growth after the 2008 financial crisis.

Why did Italy agree to let India host in 2022?

Italy agreed to let India host the G20 summit in 2022 in its place owing to the improvement in in bilateral ties in the last two years. It seems that Italy and India have finally overcome, or at least sidelined the dispute that arose when two Italian marines had killed two Indian fishermen in 2012, people aware of the matter said.

In 2012, India had accused Chief Master Sergeant Massimiliano Latorre and Sergeant Salvatore Girone — two Italian marines on board the MV Enrica Lexie, an Italian flagged oil tanker sailing from Sri Lanka towards Djibouti — of shooting dead two Indian fishermen at sea.

The unarmed fishermen were killed without warning, India had said. However, Italy claimed that as the Indian vessel drew close, the marines assessed that it “was on a collision course with the MV Enrica Lexie and that this modus operandi was consistent with a pirate attack,” as per an Indian Express report.

The dispute was resolved after India allowed both Italian marines to return to Italy. The decision was in accordance with the verdict of an international arbitration court in The Hague in early 2016.

Since then, Indo-Italy ties have been improving. Italy supported India for membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime after opposing it initially. Ties gathered momentum when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj travelled to Italy in September 2016 – a potential indicator that both sides had decided to move beyond the issue of marines.

Prime Minister Modi meets Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the G20 summit in Argentina. Credit: @pmoindia/Twitter

The then Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni visited India in 2017. The new prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, visited New Delhi a year later to meet Modi and to address a technology summit on October 20, 2018.

Many Indian companies continue to be popular in Italy, and six Indian banks are operating in the European nation. India and Italy renewed science and technology cooperation in 2003, and the Indo-Italian joint committee was established in October 2016 to relaunch scientific exchanges.

Officials believe that longstanding partnerships between Indian and Italian institutions could be bolstered further through centres of excellence.

2022: A pretty hectic year for India all around

On India’s 75th anniversary, the Modi government is planning to push for a series of steps as the country prepares to host the G20 Summit.

India is likely to make a push to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) for the year 2021-22. India was previously a member of the UNSC in 2011-2012.

India has already been making efforts to gather support for its membership to the UNSC. India, along with Brazil, Germany, and Japan, has been appealing for reform in the UNSC for a long time now. All four nations have been known to support each others’ bids for permanent seats in the top UN body.

In addition, India approached Japan to push the deadline for the ambitious bullet train to 2022. The project is one of Modi’s biggest promises during his tenure. Another promise made by Modi is India’s maiden human space flight programme. The year 2022 could be important, since Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has confirmed that the 2022 deadline is achievable. India plans to send three astronauts to space for seven days in 2022.

“The government has decided a slew of initiatives to mark the occasion of the 75th anniversary. The effort will be to make India’s presence felt at the global stage. More such decisions are expected to be taken in the coming months,” an Indian government official said, as per a report in the Financial Express.

G20 2018: Looking back at India’s participation

Speaking at the summit, Modi stressed on cooperation among G20 member nations on issues related to global economy, trade tensions, crude oil prices, terrorism, and fugitive economic offenders.

He highlighted the current challenges faced by the global economy, the threat of increasing financial vulnerabilities mainly arising from the monetary policies of advanced economies, and oil price volatility.

At the summit, Modi presented a nine-point agenda to deal with fugitive economic offenders. During the second session of the summit, which touched upon international trade, finance, and taxation, Modi prioritised international cooperation in legal mechanisms to prevent entry, deny asylum, and ensure the return of such offenders.

“Cooperation in the legal processes such as effective freezing of the proceeds of crime, early return of the offenders and efficient repatriation of the proceeds of crime should be enhanced and streamlined,” Modi said, as per an India Today report.

Modi added that the principles of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (UNOTC) should be effectively implemented.

On November 30, Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Both Modi and Xi agreed that there had been a “perceptible improvement” in Indo-China ties, after bilateral relations took a hit due to the Doklam border standoff. Modi and Xi discussed joint efforts to further enhance mutual trust and friendship between the two neighbours.

On November 29, Modi also met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the G20 summit, and the two discussed India’s role in addressing climate change globally. A source from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that the meeting highlighted the importance Guterres and Modi attach to the issue of climate change. The meeting also came days before the COP24 climate change conference would begin in Katowice, Poland.

Also read: UN Climate Conference to be held on top of Polish coal mines: Welcome to COP24

In the summit’s closing communiqué, all the G20 signatories to the Paris Agreement on climate, that is, all G20 members except USA, promised “full implementation” of the pact, which they called “irreversible”. They also took note of UN scientists’ call for an ambitious target of bringing down global warming levels.

However, the US asserted its withdrawal from the agreement, “and affirms its strong commitment to economic growth and energy access and security,” as per a PTI report.

The need to carry out reforms in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was another important point highlighted by Modi. He stressed that reforming the WTO is crucial to further dialogue on trade, in services, and to promote the global value chain in the agricultural sector.

Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius

Climate ChangeG20IndiaItaly