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Remarks by Secretary (West) at the Group of 77 Summit

September 17, 2023

Mr. President,
Distinguished Members of G-77,

Greetings from the world’s largest and most populous democracy. External Affairs Minister, Dr. Jaishankar, could not be here because of a special session of our parliament. He sends his best wishes for the success of this summit.

2. At the outset, beginning on a solemn note, India expresses its deepest condolences to Morocco and Libya, who are facing consequences of natural disasters. We wish them early recovery and stand by them in this hour of need.

3. India commends Cuba and its leadership for hosting this Summit on a theme, that resonates strongly with our G20 Presidency, of addressing developmental challenges through effective deployment of science, technology and innovation.

4. The developing world is central to our G20 Presidency. Earlier this year, we hosted a Voice of the Global South Summit consultations with 125 states, which eventually found expression in the New Delhi G20 leaders Declaration. India has mainstreamed Global South’s concern in the G20. For instance, the agreement under the finance track, on more effective MDBs with consensus on a debt relief framework for Zambia, Ghana and Ethiopia. Implementation of recommendations on Capital Adequacy Framework (CAF) could possibly increase additional lending by MDBs by 200 billion dollars over the next decade and assist developing countries in fiscal distress.

5. Further, we take great pride in our Presidency, as Africa – represented by the African Union – for the very first time now, deservedly sits at the high table of a global body, like the G20. By delivering on his promise to Africa, PM Modi has confirmed the representation of the developing world, including from the G77, is now at its highest in the G20. Excellencies, when there is a political will, reforming multilateralism is possible.

Mr. President,

6. I am happy to report that India has made a choice to deploy science, technology and innovation in its policy interventions. As a result, over the last 15 years, according to the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index, 415 million Indians have left poverty behind. Today, we are the world’s fifth largest economy, and a major enabler of global growth.

7. Excellencies, a digital current is running through my country. "India Stack” resting on digital identity, data and digital payments has made our development pie bigger and more inclusive. Our monthly digital transactions have crossed 10 billion. Transactions that deliver tangible progress on SDGs 8 and 10. India Stack is a Public Private Partnership, it is a digital public good, and today a ‘Global Stack’ for both the developing and developed states.

8. Excellencies, self-reliance in science and technology is possible. I am happy to share that all our recent Lunar, Mars and Solar Missions successes derived from the scientific rigour nurtured in Indian Universities and research institutions. Moreover, our women scientists played a key role in all these space ventures. This home-grown, cutting edge research now also finds reflection in our indigenous 5G and soon to roll out 6G technologies. Our Covid 19 vaccines, which we sent to over 100 countries are also standout examples of what can be done by a developing country.

Mr. President,

9. India has a long legacy of sharing its knowledge and expertise with the Global South. One such platform is the Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) programme which now extends to 160 partner countries. Every year, ITEC offers 14000 scholarships across 200 premier Indian Institutions through 800 courses.

10. To conclude, we would like to flag three issues to our G77 family:

One, the Group of 77 came together to speak in one voice at the UN on economic and developmental challenges. We should not get distracted by bilateral issues.

Two, let us reinforce the unity and solidarity of the Group. Consensus has been our guiding principle and must be honoured. Chair’s ruling should be an exception, and not an operating norm. Our working methods and procedures must be credible, open, consultative and transparent, and codified to avoid ambiguities.

Three, in 1964, we were 77 member states. Today we have nearly doubled, but keep the same name and undersell our own case. Don’t we deserve a name that reflects our numerical strength and our empirical weight at the United Nations?

11. In closing, our felicitations to Cuba for such excellent arrangements and warm hospitality. India will continue to walk its talk on strengthening collaboration with the Global South.

I thank you President.

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