Prime Minister Narendra Modi has touched down in Osaka, Japan, for the G20 Summit and will hold important meetings with world leaders.
Modi has already met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and will meet with US President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin as well. Key issues at the G20 Summit are trade relations, climate change, and increasing globalisation.
In a statement, Modi said, “I look forward to discussing the major challenges and opportunities faced by our world today with global leaders, women empowerment, issues related to digitalisation and artificial intelligence, and progress in achieving SDGs and in our common efforts to address major global challenges, such as terrorism and climate change.”
He added that, at the G20 Summit, he will “reiterate and reinforce” India’s support for multilateralism.
Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe have already had a bilateral meeting—the first in the Reiwa era that began in May when Crown Prince Naruhito took the throne from his father Emperor Akihito.
A trilateral meeting with Trump is also coming up where trade talks dominate the agenda. Ahead of the meeting, Trump lashed out at India’s imposition of tariffs, calling them “unacceptable” and demanding a withdrawal.
Indian officials will also be engaging with Russia and China.
Modi will be meeting Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. He is also hosting the Russia, India and China (RIC) Informal Summit and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa) meetings on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
US-India trade tensions ahead of G20 Summit
India and the US will be meeting at the G20 against a backdrop of heightened trade tensions.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Modi a few days ago to discuss relaxing tariffs on American goods and cancelling a defence deal with Russia. In return, Pompeo assured Modi that the US will not place a cap on H-1B visas for India, despite the country engaging in data localisation.
The two countries have also clashed over Iranian oil imports.
The US revoked a sanctions waiver for India in an attempt to choke Iran’s oil imports and isolate it in the process. Although India said it complies only with UN sanctions and needs to take stock of its own economy when it comes to oil imports, a Department of State official says India has complied with the sanctions.
India also has its own demands from the US, namely restoring preferential status under the Generalised System of Preferences.
The US is also in a trade deadlock with China. Frustrated with the slow pace of trade talks and China’s increasing trade surplus, Trump imposed a tariff of 25%—more than double the initial rate—on Chinese goods worth $200 billion.
China announced retaliatory tariffs, leading the US to effectively blacklist Huawei, a major Chinese telecom company that sources parts from American suppliers, citing security issues.
Huawei was also in talks with India to participate in its 5G trials. But as US-China trade tensions rise, Indian officials have decided to contemplate further whether or not Huawei will be included in the testing.
At the G20 Summit, Presidents Trump and Jingping are expected to hash out these issues.
Key issues at the 2019 G20 Summit
The Group of Twenty, known as the G20, is an international forum where 19 countries and the European Union come together to discuss matters of trade and economy. The G20 was founded in 1999 and held its first leaders’ summit in 2008.
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, UK, US, and the EU are all members of the G20.
The G20 Summit is a confluence of world leaders and policymakers who work in tandem to coordinate economic and trade policy. The IMD, OECD, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations, and WTO are some other international forums that support the work G20 countries do.
Each G20 country offers to host the annual summit. This year, Japan is hosting it in Osaka. For the 2019 summit, global economy, trade and investment, and environmental issues will get top billing.
In an increasingly isolationist and protectionist world economy, the G20 Summit wants to open countries up and foster growth through multilateralism.
The 2019 summit will also focus on greater investments for digital advancements, like data flow, cyber security, and artificial intelligence. Countries will also discuss environment and energy concerns, such as climate change, marine dumping, and clean energy.
Another important issue on the agenda is women’s empowerment and increased labour force participation for women.
Later in 2022, India will be the host. Host countries also have the right to invite whichever guest countries they like.
“The Osaka Summit will be an important stepping stone for India towards hosting the G20 Summit in 2022, when we usher in a New India on the 75th anniversary of our Independence,” said Modi.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius.
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