New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday chaired a meeting of leaders from different parties on India’s presidency of the G-20 and sought their cooperation, saying it is a unique opportunity to showcase the country’s strengths to the entire world.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said it was a matter of pride India has got the G-20 presidency and asked Modi to leverage this opportunity for the country’s benefit and help deter China from carrying out incursions at the border and correct the trade imbalance with it.
Some opposition leaders, including Sitaram Yechury and D Raja of the Left, noted that India taking over the presidency was by rotation and said it should not be projected as the government’s achievement, opposition sources said.
Official sources noted the prime minister told the meeting that India’s G-20 presidency does not belong to any individual but the entire country.
In a statement on the prime minister’s address at the meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs quoted Modi as saying that there is a global curiosity and attraction towards India today that further increases the occasion’s potential.
He emphasised the importance of teamwork and sought cooperation of all leaders in the organisation of various G-20 events, it said.
Modi pointed out that the presidency of the G-20, a grouping of the world’s 20 major economies, would help showcase parts of India beyond the conventional big metros, bringing out the uniqueness of various regions of the country, it said.
Noting that a large number of visitors would be coming to India during the year-long events, Modi highlighted the potential for promoting tourism and boosting the local economies of the venues where G-20 meetings would be organised.
The prime minister had also highlighted the significance of the event at a BJP meeting earlier in the day, saying every citizen should be proud of the development.
TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, who is also the West Bengal chief minister, said at the meeting that the G-20 presidency was not about one party’s agenda but of the entire country, sources said.
Banerjee said India’s G-20 presidency was a national occasion and suggested that representation should also be given to regional leaders. Opposition sources said she highlighted how opposition leaders have represented India at international forums and talked about her visit to Vietnam with other political leaders on behalf of India.
Kharge asked Modi to use this opportunity to help the country secure a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and play a key role in helping nations out of the debt crisis as his predecessor Manmohan Singh had done during the 2008 economic crisis, opposition sources said.
Raising the issue of some nations providing aid and support to terrorism, he said the prime minister should use this occasion to seek the support of other nations to act against such countries, the sources said.
On India’s stand on the Ukraine war, he told the prime minister to continue efforts to maintain peace and help create an environment where no war-like situation is created again.
TRS president K Chandrashekar Rao and JD(U) chief Lalan Singh did not attend the meeting. The RJD also skipped the meeting.
In a statement highlighting Yechury’s comments at the meeting, the CPI(M) reiterated that India’s turn at the helm of the grouping is by the dint of a “rotating presidency”.
Opposition leaders’ comments are apparently aimed at countering any BJP attempt to project the development as a major success for the government.
“Every country in the G-20 will automatically be President when their turn comes,” Yechury said.
Raja said the government should take the opportunity to showcase the achievements of India’s youths and farmers, and pitched for empowering women by bringing in legislation for reservation for them.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, taking part in the meeting, expressed confidence that the prime minister would use the opportunity to promote the values of peace, non-violence, harmony, and equal justice all over the world.
Stalin assured the Centre of Tamil Nadu’s full support and cooperation in conducting conferences as part of the G-20 presidency.
“I congratulate our Prime Minister Narendra Modi on India assuming the G20 Presidency for 2023. This is a matter of great pride to our country and we have a very important role to play in promoting international understanding,” he said, according to an official release.
India is keenly observed by, not just G-20 countries, but all countries around the globe, the chief minister said.
Kharge highlighted at the meeting that India had in the past chaired the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit and hosted its summit in 1983 along with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which were attended by leaders of several countries.
He also recalled the words of former US president Barack Obama lauding Manmohan Singh for being the “primary partner” in working solutions during the 2008 economic crisis that gripped the world.
The IMF has said that 53 nations are going through a debt crisis, Kharge noted and expressed the hope that India shows the path forward in helping these countries come out of the crisis.
Sources said Kharge also asked Modi to help create a system that could aid the repatriation of fugitives who escaped to other countries after committing economic frauds in India.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Sikkim’s Prem Singh Tamang, and Maharashtra’s Eknath Shinde attended the meeting.
Also in attendance were Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Jagan Mohan Reddy, BJP president J P Nadda, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu.
Those from the government side present at the meeting included Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.
India officially assumed the G20 presidency on December 1.
The country is expected to host over 200 preparatory meetings across the country beginning this month. The next G-20 Leaders’ Summit at the level of heads of state or governments is scheduled to be held on September 9 and 10 next year in New Delhi.
G-20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union.
This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.
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