[Jeevan Zutshi is the past Executive Director of the Indo-American Kashmir Forum (IAKF) and is currently a member of the Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD). The views expressed are his own.]
Let us start with understanding what G-20 is all about!
The Group of Twenty (G20) was formed in 1999 and was originally a meeting of the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank (of all 20 countries? If so ministers and governors) in an effort to broaden the discussion of policies that are beneficial for resolving the global economic and financial crisis. It holds a strategic role in securing future global economic growth and prosperity. Together, the G20 members represent more than 80 percent of world GDP, 75 percent of international trade and 60 percent of the world population.
India hosted a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in 2002. G20 was raised to the Summit level in 2008, the same year when an economic crisis hit the world economies, to address the global financial and economic crisis. The G-20 operates without a permanent secretariat or staff.
The G-20’s ranks include all members of the Group of Seven (G-7), a forum of the European Union and the seven countries with the world’s largest developed economies: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
As we know, India will take over the leadership of the G-20 on December 1, 2022, with the responsibility to organize, arrange and hold the 2023 G-20 Summit in late October/early November 2023 in India. As my colleague, Dr. Vijay Sazawal, a political analyst, said to me that “the venue for the meeting, where heads of State from 20 top economies of the world are expected to be present, will be a new conference facility being built especially for the Summit in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. However, in preparation for the Summit, preparatory meetings will be held with representatives from the G-20 called “sherpas.” The Union Commerce and Industries minister Piyush Goyal is the current G-20 Sherpa and is conducting negotiations at the G-20 level.
These meetings which will occur in 2023 and will be held at a few locations in India, including (according to the Government plan) in Srinagar, Kashmir.
Pakistan has objected to the selection of Srinagar as a choice for a venue but it is not a member of the G-20. Three Islamic countries part of the G-220 are Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Indonesia. It is expected that Turkey and China will try to oppose the inclusion of Srinagar as a preparatory avenue, but nothing is settled yet.”
Whoever attends may not matter anymore. It may just mean that the new world order is changing. Holding G20 in Jammu and Kashmir will definitely mean getting international recognition for Kashmir in its present form after article 370 was removed nearly three years back.
Personally, I believe that it will be very important for India to address the underlying issues which are coming in the way of promoting peace.
There is a dire need for mutual trust and confidence between the diverse communities to fight unitedly against the radicalized elements and terrorism. The targeted recent killing of innocent civilians has evoked fear and massive condemnation by the civilized segment of the communities. While the present government’s policies deserve appreciation in terms of weeding out terrorism, a lot more needs to be done to instill confidence and ensure safety of Kashmiri Pandits who have suffered the most.
It will also be very important in the interest of making sure that holding the G-20 summit doesn’t backfire.