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15 Nov, 2023 14:38

India to discuss ‘challenges’ with Global South

New Delhi will hold a virtual summit on Friday to review its G20 presidency and “global developments”
India to discuss ‘challenges’ with Global South

The Indian government has announced that it will host the second Voice of Global South Summit (VOGSS) on Friday, to share the “key outcomes” of various meetings held during New Delhi’s G20 presidency and discuss the “challenges posed by global developments.”    

The event, which will be held in a virtual format, will also serve as a platform to discuss “ways to sustain the momentum generated towards our common aspiration of a more inclusive, representative and progressive world order,” the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Leaders from several countries in Africa, South America, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia are expected to participate in the summit. The inaugural and concluding sessions will be conducted at the highest level, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi acting as host. The first such summit was held in January and saw the participation of nearly 125 developing countries.  

New Delhi, which took over the G20 presidency from Indonesia, was instrumental in orchestrating the inclusion of the African Union in the group, and has increasingly positioned itself as the leader of the Global South.  

Earlier this year, Modi unveiled a slew of initiatives aimed at benefiting India’s Global South partners, including the ‘Aarogya Maitri’ project, which will provide essential medical supplies to any developing country affected by natural disasters or humanitarian crises. Modi also announced the establishment of a ‘Global-South Center of Excellence’ to undertake research on “development solutions,” as well as a ‘Global-South Science & Technology initiative’ to share India’s expertise with other developing nations.  

New Delhi is also pushing its home-grown payment processing system, Unified Payment Interface (UPI), and its RuPay cards to be used in South American and African countries, Indian media reported earlier this year. In Africa, India is reportedly in talks with Namibia, Mozambique, and Kenya to help them develop their own instant payment systems similar to UPI.  

The VOGSS will be held against the backdrop of the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. The hostilities have divided the so-called Global North – largely represented by the world’s biggest economies in the G7 and the European Union – and the Global South, which refers broadly to developing and underdeveloped nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.  

Addressing the UN General Assembly summit in New York in September, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar emphasized the need for a multilateral world order which would be more inclusive of the Global South. Jaishankar also said at a ministerial session that India expects the Global South to put “more and more pressure on the international system” amid an ongoing “transition.” At the same event, Jaishankar cited issues such as debt, progressing on sustainable development goals, climate action, digital access, nutrition, and gender inequality as the main problems “troubling the world.”  

More recently, the Indian foreign minister accused advanced Western countries of deploying sanctions, such as against Russia, when they “think their interests are at stake,” while many parts of the world disagree with this approach.