Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the lead-up to the G20 leaders summit in New Delhi, highlighted the guiding principles behind India’s year-long presidency of the global grouping. He emphasized the importance of technology democratization, the need for global cooperation to combat cybercrimes, and the significance of India’s “four Ds” – demography, democracy, diversity, and development. Here are edited excerpts from his interview with news agency PTI:

ON INDIA’S G20 PRESIDENCY

The G20 was conceived at the end of the last century, uniting major world economies with a vision of a collective and coordinated response to economic crises. Its importance grew during the global economic crisis in the early 21st century. However, when the pandemic hit, the world realized that besides economic challenges, there were other crucial immediate challenges affecting humanity.

By then, the world had recognized India’s human-centric development model. Whether it was economic growth, technological progress, institutional delivery, or social infrastructure, all were being extended to the last mile to ensure no one was left behind. Observing India’s experience, it was evident that a human-centric approach was effective even during crises. India’s response to the pandemic, including a clear and coordinated approach, direct aid using technology for the most vulnerable, vaccine development, and the world’s largest vaccine drive, garnered recognition and appreciation.

By the time India assumed the G20 presidency, our words and vision were not seen merely as ideas but as a roadmap for the future. Before the conclusion of our G20 presidency, over 100,000 delegates will have visited India, witnessing our demography, democracy, diversity, and development. They are seeing how the fourth “D,” development, has empowered people over the past decade. It’s increasingly understood that many solutions the world needs are already being successfully implemented in our country, at speed and scale.

ON G20 PHILOSOPHY

Our G20 presidency’s theme, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One Earth, One Family, One Future,” isn’t just a slogan but a comprehensive philosophy rooted in our cultural ethos. This philosophy guides our outlook within India and towards the world. It is evident in our track record within India, where we’ve empowered aspirational districts, provided electricity, tap water connections, sanitation, and bank accounts to underserved populations.

This philosophy also influences our global approach. We work for the inclusion of those whose voices feel unheard. For instance, we believe in the vision of “One Earth, One Health.” During Covid-19, we promoted integration, not isolation, and extended assistance to nearly 150 countries with medicines and vaccines, especially those from the Global South.

We initiated the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilience, fostering global cooperation, especially among developing nations, to enhance disaster resilience.

ON RUSSIA, CHINA, AND CONSENSUS BUILDING

India’s stance on conflicts worldwide is to promote resolution through dialogue and diplomacy. Whether as G20 president or not, we support efforts to maintain peace worldwide. We understand that each country has its positions, but we emphasize the need for unity to tackle common challenges.

The G20 is expected to deliver results on issues like growth, development, climate change, pandemics, and disaster resilience, which affect every corner of the globe. A divided world would struggle to address these challenges effectively. We always stand in support of peace, stability, and progress.

International institutions must adapt to changing times. Outdated mid-20th-century approaches cannot serve the 21st century. Our global institutions need to evolve, expand decision-making forums, reconsider priorities, and ensure representation of relevant voices.

India, as a diverse nation, the world’s largest democracy, with a significant youth population, plays a crucial role in shaping the world’s future.

ON INVITING AFRICAN NATIONS

India shares a natural affinity with Africa, stemming from millennia-old cultural and commercial ties and a history of anti-colonial movements. We relate to Africa’s youthful and aspirational population.

Our relationship has grown stronger, marked by events like the India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015, the African Development Bank summit in Ahmedabad in 2017, and the Voice of the Global South summit during our G20 Presidency.

ON CLIMATE CRISIS EFFORTS

India has achieved its climate targets nine years ahead of schedule and taken notable actions against single-use plastic. We’ve made significant strides in safe sanitation and cleanliness. We transitioned from being a member of global efforts to playing a leading role in initiatives like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

Our principle is clear: diversity is our strength. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Our pathways for energy transition differ due to different circumstances.

Despite being 17% of the world’s population, India’s historic share in cumulative emissions is less than 5%. Still, we’ve diligently met our climate goals.

ON CYBER CRIME

Cyber threats are a significant concern. The World Bank estimated that cyber attacks could have caused global losses of around $5.2 trillion from 2019 to 2023.

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