|By Nilova Roy Chaudhury||July 2017|
New Delhi. Germany, host of the G-20 summit at Hamburg which concluded July 8, has strongly condemned the July 10 terrorist attack that killed seven pilgrims and injured many others headed to the Amarnath shrine in Jammu & Kashmir. Conveying his condolences, German Ambassador Martin Ney said, “as the G20 leaders just reaffirmed in Hamburg, we are resolved to tackle terrorism as a common challenge to the global community.”
India was among the key movers of that statement on counter terrorism, which was issued on Friday, July 7 at Hamburg, after the G-20 leaders convened in a special informal session on countering terror that lasted over three hours. Arvind Panagariya, Deputy Chairman of the NITI Aayog and India’s ‘Sherpa’ (chief negotiator) at the G-20, said that it was India who strongly pitched for a separate, standalone statement on terrorism.
Originally, the plan was to put an annexure on counter terrorism to the final G20 joint statement but India made a strong pitch for it being a standalone document and insisted it be named as a Leaders’ Statement, Panagariya said. Although Pakistan was not named, the need to eliminate “safe havens,” officials said, was vindication of India’s strong pitch to try and dismantle the infrastructure of terror in its immediate neighbourhood and the necessity for closer cooperation to combat the terrorist menace.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi forcefully emphasised the aspect of how terrorism was impeding economic growth and development, while he urged greater and closer collaboration to tackle the scourge at the session.
The reef knot logo of Germany’s G-20 presidency symbolized this interconnection, officials explained. The interconnected world is a challenge for policy makers, but also an opportunity. Germany’s presidency has set itself the ambitious goal of shaping the world in cooperation with all G20 partners.
The Group of Twenty is comprised of 19 countries and the European Union. The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The G20 is the main forum for international cooperation among the 19 leading industrialized nations and emerging economies and the EU in the fields of finance and economics.
For the G-20, founded after the 2008 global financial crisis as an organisation of the world’s strongest economies to chart a course for global macro-economic governance, to adopt a strong, standalone statement against terrorism is indicative of how countries have begun to accept the havoc being wreaked by this global menace, not just in human terms, but also to economic development.
“We, Leaders of the G20, strongly condemn all terrorist attacks worldwide and stand united and firm in the fight against terrorism and its financing. These atrocious acts have strengthened our resolve to cooperate to enhance our security and protect our citizens. Terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought and terrorist safe havens eliminated in every part of the world,” the 21-paragraph tough statement begins.
Pledging to “facilitate swift and targeted exchanges of information between intelligence and law enforcement and judicial authorities on operational information-sharing, preventive measures and criminal justice response,” the leaders said they would “work to improve the existing international information architecture in the areas of security, travel and migration.”
In keeping with the particular domain of the G-20, the leaders resolved “to make the international financial system entirely hostile to terrorist financing and ..reaffirm our commitment to tackle all sources, techniques and channels of terrorist financing.” Advocating the need for strong “measures against the financing of international terrorist organisations in particular ISIL/ISIS/Daesh, Al Qaida and their affiliates,” the leaders affirmed that “there should be no “safe spaces” for terrorist financing anywhere in the world,” while supporting the scope of the anti-terrorism Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Emphasising the collaborative nature of the exercise, the leaders said, “Our counterterrorism actions must continue to be part of a comprehensive approach, including combating radicalization and recruitment, hampering terrorist movements and countering terrorist propaganda.”
Except for the climate change issue, on which the United States was largely isolated and had a different position than others, Panagariya said there was a broad consensus on all other key issues among the G20 leaders, including on ways to revive global growth in an inclusive manner. He was speaking to the media after the various sessions of deliberations among the leaders got over.
The leaders resolved to make necessary quota reforms and to ensure better representation of the emerging economies in the international institutional financial architecture, like the World Bank and IMF, Economic Affairs Secretary Tapan Ray said. International cooperation on financial matters also got strong support and India strongly contributed in the session on this agenda, said Ray, who led the Indian team on the finance track of the G20 proceedings.
Leaders of the five BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) also held an informal meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg. The meeting, hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the current chair of the organisation, was a precursor to the forthcoming BRICS Summit in September in Xiamen, China. In their interventions, the leaders discussed preparations and priorities for the forthcoming Xiamen Summit.
For India, the atmospherics between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi was important, given the ongoing military standoff between the two countries in the Doklam area at the border between Sikkim and Bhutan.
Prime Minister Modi said that BRICS has been a strong voice and needs to show leadership on terrorism and the global economy. He stressed that the G-20 should collectively oppose terrorism financing, franchises, safe havens, support and sponsors. President Xi praised India’s commitment to BRICS and how it had steered the group during the past year as the Chair.
The two leaders also met directly in a “pull aside” after the July 8 BRICS meeting, during which they “discussed a wide range of issues,” MEA spokesman Gopal Baglay said, although he declined to divulge whether the Doklam situation had been discussed.
Mr Modi also held bilateral discussions with a host of leaders present, including President Moon Jae-in of Korea and the Prime Ministers of Italy, Norway, Canada, Vietnam, Britain and Japan, among others. His bonhomie with US President Donald Trump continued as they waved at each other at the venue and met, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosted the G-20 and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Some facts about the G-20
The G20 countries produce around 80 percent of global economic output in gross domestic product (GDP) terms.
G20 countries account for three‑quarters of global trade. China, the United States, Germany and Japan are the four largest exporting countries in the world. Of the 20 countries with the largest volume of exports worldwide, 15 are members of the G20.
Around two‑thirds of the global population live in the G20 member countries.
At the invitation of each Presidency, international organizations also regularly attend the G20 meetings. These organisations include the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the World Bank (WB), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations (UN). The German G20 Presidency has also invited the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017.
Spain attends the G20 Summits as a permanent guest. The Presidency can also invite representatives of regional organizations and guests to the G20 Summit. The German Presidency has invited Norway, the Netherlands and Singapore as partner countries to the G20 process, as well as the African Union (AU), represented by Guinea, the Asia‑Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), represented by Vietnam, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), represented by Senegal.