India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday that as G-20 President, India will focus on climate and sustainable development financing, reforms of multilateral institutions, regulation of digital assets, the effect on developing economies of actions by western central banks, energy and food security in the face of war in Europe, and sanctions on Russia and how they affect the global economy.
On December 1, India will become the President of the powerful international group for a year.
There will be about 200 meetings all over the country. The Heads of State summit is expected to occur in New Delhi in September next year.
Sitharaman said at an event by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations that India’s priorities as G20 President would be made public in a few days. “We are almost at the end of all consultations and discussions,” she said.
“We have to understand how multilateral institutions, international financing institutions, are going to be better-reformed institutions. Are they going to serve with better vigour…do they have newer thoughts? Are they looking at 21st century ways of leveraging the funds they have?
Do they know or want to bring in greater resources?” the finance minister remarked, noting that PM Narendra Modi has already set the tone for this discussion by calling for the reform of institutions such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.
Sitharaman said all countries would have to work together to regulate crypto assets because “no single country can succeed individually being in a solo” and trying to regulate them.
“So we need all members of G-20 to come on board and see best how it can be done,” she said, reiterating that India would not bring its regulations without wider consensus at the international level.
She said India was uniquely positioned after maintaining an independent position in today’s global geopolitical situation.
“India is very carefully maintaining its position and voicing for the emerging markets, the low and middle-income countries and trying to make sure all our voices are heard, particularly when we are also facing the collateral spillovers,” she said.
The finance minister said a detailed discussion on sustainable development goals and climate financing was also needed.
“The process of financing SDGs should be a lot more friendly towards lower income and developing countries,” she said.
Given that Indonesia, India, and Brazil will lead the G-20 for three years in a row, policymakers in these countries are hopeful that the voices of developing countries can be heard more in the global order.
“For low and middle-income countries, the process of financing has got to be clearer for all of us. It can’t be blind to achieving goals and forget the process itself,” she said.
“The topic of sanctions and other actions by countries is something we will discuss with other G20 members, including the actions taken at the earlier stages of the Russia-Ukraine war and the ones taken later,” she said.
Sitharaman said that India has much to learn from Indonesia’s presidency since the southeast Asian country led the grouping during the Omicron wave and the geopolitical fallout of the war in Europe.
“By the culture and tradition of G-20, we are also going to make sure that we carry forward some of the agenda items from earlier presidencies which need to be taken forward and brought to a conclusion,” she remarked.
These included further discussions on health and financing to better deal with future pandemics, some low-income nations’ debt distress, and global taxation.
“The digital achievement of India will have to be showcased because many of the G-20 members have expressed a desire to know how they could really do it, and many of them are also engaging with us to see if their systems and our systems can be interoperable,” she noted.