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Transcript of Press briefing by G20 Presidency (September 09, 2023)

September 10, 2023

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson (MEA): Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for being here for the briefing by the G20 Presidency. To give us the sense of recent developments that have taken place, we have the pleasure of having with us Honourable External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, Honourable Finance Minister madam Nirmala Sitharaman, Sherpa Amitabh Kant Sir, Secretary DEA, also Foreign Secretary Sir as well as Shri Shringla Chief Coordinator of the G20. They will make brief opening statements after which we will open the floor for questions. Please note that we may not be able to accommodate all your questions given the time limit. But I would request now, Sir, if you would like to take the floor first.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister: Thank you. Thank you very much. Friends from the media, it is a great pleasure for all of us to speak to you even as the G20 Summit deliberations continue. You may be aware that at the start of the second session the Summit has adopted the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration. What I would like to do is to give you an overarching perspective of India's G20 Presidency, thereafter I will request my colleague, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to speak about the key outcomes from the Finance track. The Indian G20 Sherpa, Amitabh Kant will then similarly speak on the results of the Sherpa track. We would thereafter be very glad to respond to your questions and comments. The message of our presidency, as you are all aware, is that we are one earth, one family, and we share one future. This draws on an age-old belief of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam". The entire proceedings of the New Delhi Summit are in fact organized accordingly, with three sessions devoted to each aspect of this theme. Now, reflecting this approach, we have consciously sought to make this G20 as inclusive and broad-based as possible. It is witnessing the participation of, obviously, its 20 member states, nine invitee nations, and 14 international organizations. It is a matter of particular satisfaction for us that the African Union has this morning, become a permanent member of the G20, that too during the Indian presidency. This is in keeping with the priority that we attach to addressing the urgent concerns of the Global South. You would recall that at the beginning of our presidency, at Prime Minister Modi's initiative, a 125 nations were consulted to express the voice of the Global South. In terms of its organization and program, the Indian presidency, if I may say so, has been exceptional. Events have been spread across 60 cities, which are truly across the length and breadth of India. There has been a popular participation and a societal involvement of an extraordinary degree. The interest in G20 proceedings have been particularly strong among our youth. It has been an opportunity to showcase our culture, traditions, and heritage as well. The G20 has contributed to making India world-ready and the world India-ready. The declaration that the Leaders have agreed on today focuses on promoting strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth. It seeks to accelerate progress on SDGs and has come up with an action plan accordingly. It envisages a green development pact for a sustainable future. It endorses high-level principles on lifestyle for sustainable development, voluntary principles on hydrogen, the Chennai principles for a sustainable and resilient blue economy, and the Deccan principles on food security and nutrition, among others. The transformative and inclusive role of technology has been highlighted with a focus on digital public infrastructure. The Indian presidency's proposal of a One Future Alliance has also been noted. The G20 has reaffirmed the fundamental importance of gender equality and committed to halve the digital gender gap by 2030. Recognizing that the post-pandemic world order must necessarily be different from the world before it, the Leaders have also emphasized the need to reinvigorate multilateralism and reform international financial institutions. This is particularly relevant to managing global debt vulnerabilities. So as you can see, there have been many far-reaching and very consequential policies and decisions that have been agreed upon today. Keeping all that in mind, I would at this stage request Finance Minister to highlight the key issues from the finance track.

Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister: Thank you, Jaishankar ji. As was said by the External Affairs Minister, under the guidance of Honourable Prime Minister, India's G20 presidency has worked for the theme, one earth, one family, one future. So today, we are in a position to adopt, through the finance track, people-centric, action-oriented and far-sighted approach, and as a result of which, several outcomes of the finance track will certainly reflect these objectives with which we started the negotiations. It has been very clear in our mind that we should ensure that no one is left behind in our pursuit of global solutions. So we have endeavoured to support countries, especially those from the Global South, to be an integral part of the global decision-making process. The G20, as you all know, is a very diverse group. Each country is at different milestones of economic development, and their trajectory is also very different in achieving their developmental goals. So through well-curated debates and careful assimilation of all the perspectives, the Indian presidency has crafted solutions that resonate with each member, offering a shared path forward for all. Many action-oriented outcomes of this presidency contain comprehensive strategies that cater to the unique needs and aspirations of all developing nations. We assume the presidency at a challenging time of geopolitical tension. The Indian presidency has worked to ensure that these divergences don't overshadow the core developmental outcomes or concerns of the global community that demand collaborative solutions. So today, as I look back at the 10 months of Indian presidency, I am left with gratitude and satisfaction. I can confidently state that the Indian G20 presidency has walked the talk.

Now, let me share with you just some of the key achievements of the Indian presidency, the finance track. First one is the outcomes which are focused on strengthening the MDBs to address shared global challenges of the 21st century. So under this strengthening MDBs, there are four key highlights that I'd like to bring to your notice. The first one is agreement on the need for a better, bigger, and more effective MDBs. It is so necessary to have better, bigger, and more effective MDBs because the developmental demands from all across the globe is so high, these institutions will have to be better and bigger. This is also going to contribute to enhancing representation and voice of developing countries in the decision making. The second under the MDBs, strengthening of MDBs, is the G20 independent expert group on strengthening MDBs and this was established and it has submitted its volume one. The first report…their report consists of two volumes. The first volume has already been submitted. The report recommends a triple agenda that dovetails with the call for the bigger, better, and more effective MDBs. The third point in strengthening MDBs, is the agreement to collectively work towards boosting World Bank's financing capacity. Here the options will be explored that will deliver a powerful boost to the IBRB headroom to support low income and middle income countries. And the fourth, endorsement for the G20 roadmap for implementation of the recommendations of an independent panel on capital adequacy framework of the MDBs. So the CAF recommendations are focused on enabling MDBs to use the existing resources effectively. The roadmap estimates, this is going to be of interest for the media; the roadmap estimates that implementation of the CAF and the measures thereby will potentially yield additional lending headroom of approximately 200 billion US dollars over the next decade. So through these achievements, India has harnessed the opportunity provided by the G20 presidency to effectively articulate and embed the priorities of the Global South in the larger global conversation on the MDB reforms. I move to the second, laying the building blocks for a globally coordinated and comprehensive policy and regulatory framework for crypto assets. The global push for clearer policies on crypto assets has gained momentum under the Indian presidency and a global consensus is emerging on the same. The presidency will support the IMF and the FSB, and FSB is also setting the contours of the regulatory framework for a globally coordinated approach to crypto assets. So the presidency with the support of IMF and the FSB is setting these contours. The IMF and FSB synthesis paper, about which I have spoken to the media earlier, including a roadmap, on that I just want to give my observation, this synthesis paper delves into how the policy and regulatory frameworks developed by the IMF and the FSB, alongside the other standard setting bodies, will fit together and interact with each other. This paper is now available in the public domain for all of you all to see. The third one, which I would like to draw your attention to, is the financial inclusion and productivity gains through digital public infrastructure. India as you all are aware, through the India stack, became the first country to develop all three foundational BPIs, the digital identity, the real-time fast payment, and a platform to safely share personal data without compromising privacy. So embedded this concept in the G20 financial inclusion agenda by formulating G20 policy recommendations for advancing financial inclusion and productivity gains through digital public infrastructure.

This set of recommendations cover five aspects, use of DPIs and accelerating financial inclusion, fostering well-designed DPIs, regulatory and supervisory aspects of DPI, institutional and governance arrangements by DPI, and ensuring customer protection. So DPI has also been integrated into the G20 financial inclusion action plan, the FIAP, which will run between 2024 and 2026. That's a strong legacy of the Indian presidency. We also assume the co-chair of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, the implementation of the financial inclusion action plan, as well as the policy recommendations on DPI will remain as areas that will continue to be heard across the G20 forum. So the fourth one, which I'd like to highlight, is the debt resolution under the common framework and also beyond the common framework. Since its establishment in 2021, only Chad as a country has had its debt restructured. The others have been waiting. So since India took over the G20 presidency, good progress has been made in the ongoing country cases under the common framework of debt treatment, and the three countries in that are Zambia, Ghana and Ethiopia. We've also succeeded in using the G20 platform to also put in place a coordinated mechanism to address the debt situation of Sri Lanka, which is outside of the common framework.

So G20 will continue discussing the policy-related issues linked to the implementation of the common framework and make periodically such appropriate recommendations. The launch of the Global sovereign debt roundtable which is co-chaired by IMF, the World Bank and also the G20 presidency to enhance the conversation among the various stakeholders and address current shortcomings in the debt restructuring process. That has now become an institution which is actually acting as a catalytic agent in getting resolutions done faster. The fifth point under the finance track which I'd like to bring to your notice is the financing of cities of tomorrow. Key concerns of the low-income countries and emerging markets has always been to mobilize resources for financing sustainable, resilient and also inclusive cities of tomorrow. The G20 principles which are issued for financing cities of tomorrow to promote effective and efficient use of financial resources, to support urban development that is socially inclusive, environmentally responsible and economically sustainable are now all under the framework of the principles which have been used. The MDBs and the development financial institutions can use these principles in their financing plans for urban infrastructure. The sixth which I'd like to quickly draw your attention is the two-pillar solution on global taxation, the international taxation. We've made substantial progress in the two-pillar solution and the work has also happened on the exchange of information on immovable property transactions between countries. There is a launch of the pilot program of the South Asia academy in India for tax and financial crime investigation in collaboration with the OECD. The seventh, on which I'll elaborate is mechanism to support the timely and adequate mobilization of resources for climate finance. Till date, the conversation was focused on calling on developed countries to say where is that 100 billion US dollars, which didn't come. But Indian presidency adopted an action-oriented approach and the G20 explored mechanisms that can support timely and adequate mobilization of resources for climate finance, facilitating access to multilateral climate funds and enhancing their leverage and ability to mobilize private capital has also been our focus, special focus again on development, demonstration, deployment of green and low carbon technologies. Now the list of outcomes, I've pointed out seven. Just three more which I'll not detail, go into the detail but you can take it as enough has been done on that, I'll also put it out for your consideration. Scaling up sustainable finance for social sectors, health and education, technical assistance for capacity building. Then global conversation on transition policies especially to include range of options both on pricing and non-pricing. And the third one, enhancing finance health collaboration so as to cover many other work streams as well. So I listed out seven, elaborated on them, three others which have not elaborated but on all of them substantial progress and outcomes have been achieved. India has received tremendous support from the G20 members across the table. The outcomes of the Indian presidency are a testimony to India's commitment to multilateralism and for international cooperation. We assure the upcoming Brazilian presidency of our strong support and to continue the momentum on key issues of global importance. I now hand over back to Minister Jaishankar.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister: Thank you, Nirmala ji. May I now request G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant to bring out the major outcomes from the Sherpa track.

Shri Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, India: Thank you, Minister. So first of all, when we started India's presidency, the Prime Minister had said that India's presidency must be inclusive, it must be decisive, it must be ambitious and it must be action-oriented. The New Delhi Leader's declaration has 83 paras in all; all 83 paras have 100% consensus across all countries. There are 8 paras on the geopolitical issue which is entitled ‘Planet, People, Peace and Prosperity’. All those 8 paras have 100% acceptance. All countries have unanimously supported the New Delhi leader's declaration. This is one declaration without a single footnote and without any chair’s summary. This is a complete statement with 100% unanimity. This demonstrates both the Prime Minister's and India's great ability to bring all developing countries, all emerging markets, all developed countries, China, Russia, everybody together on the same table and bring consensus. Secondly, this has been the most ambitious presidency in G20's history ever because the number of outcomes it has, both the outcomes and the annexed documents are about 112, which is more than two and a half times which has ever been achieved before. Thirdly, this presidency, if you go through the New Delhi Leader's declaration, it has a huge India narrative, it has a huge India footprint, whether you look at the Deccan high-level principles on food security, whether you look at the Chennai high-level principles for blue ocean economy, whether you look at the Goa roadmap for tourism, whether you look at the Gandhinagar implementation roadmap for land restoration or Jaipur call for enhanced MSMEs, all this will leave a huge footprint of India in G20.

So one of the key achievements to my mind, one is that we've achieved a very major green development pact in today's world of climate action and climate finance. Every single country has come together to focus on green development pact, which has financing, which has focus on global greenhouse gas emission by 43% by 2030, which has a doubling provision of adaptive finance by 2025, which has a global biofuel alliance, which has a LiFE, completely new principles of life for sustainable development, which has ending plastic pollution, which has reducing disaster risk and a whole lot of other components put together as the green development pact of the Leaders of G20 countries for a greener world of tomorrow.

Secondly, there is a huge focus on accelerating progress on sustainable development goals because the COVID had hit a vast segment of our population. There's a G20 action plan to accelerate progress on SDGs. There is a huge focus on education, health, nutrition. There's a huge focus on creative industries like culture as a transformation for SDGs. And there is a huge focus on inclusive and resilient growth in this entire thing, most of which, which the Finance Minister has spoken about, so I'm not talking. But I think one of the biggest achievements of this New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration is, what we've achieved on women-led development with a massive focus on women empowerment and gender equality. And this focuses on reducing labour force participation gap, bridging the gender digital divide. There's a huge focus on gender inclusive climate action. There's a completely big focus on women's food security, nutrition and well-being. And we've created a new working group on empowerment of women, which Brazil will carry forward.

The G20 leaders are focused on artificial intelligence, they're focused on cyber security. Also, I would say that one of the key aspects of this presidency has been its focus on developing and emerging markets. No document of G20 has had such an immense focus on developing and emerging markets and the voice of the Global South, as this particular document has. This is a document of the Global South, this is a document of the developing countries which came together and spelt out their priorities. And India has been the spokesperson of all the Global South and spelt out their priorities in this document. This document also condemns terrorism, it denies terrorist groups safe haven and freedom of operation and many other things. But let me assure you that there are several new initiatives on climate and health, and this has been an inclusive G20, this has been a very, a G20 where the leaders give a direction to global agendas and this has been…this has laid the foundation for very bold action. But more than anything else, it has amplified the voice of Global South. It has also demonstrated that India has a huge capacity of bringing the world together and leading the world in developmental and geopolitical issues as well. So thank you very much ladies and gentlemen.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister: Thank you Amitabh. Following up on my colleagues, let me add a few more remarks. While noting that the G20 is not the platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues. The leaders recognized that they can have significant consequences for the global economy. In particular, they dwelt on the ongoing war in Ukraine. And the impact it has had, especially on developing and least developing nations. Still recovering from the pandemic and economic disruption. The three F's, food, fuel and fertilizers were issues of special concern. Another subject that was addressed by them, as the Sherpa noted, was countering terrorism and money laundering. The leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. And recognized that it constitutes one of the more serious threats to international peace and security.

So in conclusion, as you can all see, all G20 member states have come to New Delhi with a strong sense of responsibility about addressing the most pressing global challenges. Speaking for India, we are clear that no one left behind, as the Finance Minister highlighted. No one left behind is as much a foreign policy goal as it is a domestic one. Indeed, it should be a global one. Obviously, there are differing viewpoints and interests at play in regard to the various issues under discussion. However, we have been able to find common ground on all of them. As a result, we can justifiably state that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's guidance, the New Delhi Summit has given clear directions for the growth and development of the global economy in the years ahead. We would be glad to respond to your queries. Thank you.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson (MEA): Thank you very much. Before I open the floor for questions, let me just mention that the document in question, the New Delhi Declaration, has been uploaded on the website about an hour ago. And please have a look at it. Let me open now the floor.

Parikshit Luthra: One question to…

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson (MEA): Please introduce yourself and the organization you represent.

Parikshit Luthra: I am Parikshit Luthra from CNBC-TV18. My question to Minister Jaishankar and G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant and also Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. How difficult was it to have consensus on the wording of the Ukraine-Russia war? This has been a difficult point in every conversation in the G20. There were several drafts circulated. We heard of a new draft this morning as well. Were there any countries which actually helped India in bringing consensus on the table?

Ruchi Bhatia: Ma'am, good afternoon. My name is Ruchi Bhatia from Bloomberg News. The Ukraine paragraphs also mention about the work that Turkey did with respect to getting some sort of a consensus on the issue of the Black Sea Grain Deal as well. Where are things with respect to that and can we expect any movement on that critical issue anytime soon because it does concern several nations across the globe? Thank you.

Manash Pratim Bhuyan: This is Manash Pratim Bhuyan from Press Trust of India, PTI. In one of the paragraphs referring to the Ukraine conflict, it is mentioned that there were different views and assessment of the situation. So, how do you explain this line about having differences on the Ukraine crisis? This is a question to Foreign Minister or the G20 Sherpa.

Ashish Singh:
Hi, this is Ashish Singh from the GeoStrata. Going forward, how will we see action for climate-related adaptation financing for the Global South, especially with India being part of the troika. Thanks.

Hamna: Hi, I'm Hamna from Brute. I wanted to know does India see itself as the leader of the Global South and how did it assume this role because there's been a lot of conversation about bringing the Global South together. So, yeah.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister: Let me respond to some of the questions and then I'd like to request the Sherpa to come in on that after me.

How difficult was it to forge consensus on the Ukraine issue? You know, this, as we have pointed out, is a declaration of 83 paragraphs. It has a lot of content. There are a lot of subjects which have been covered, some of which we have spoken about. But obviously, because of the ongoing conflict, the strong views about it, considerable time was spent, especially in the last few days, in regard to geopolitical issues, which really centred around the war in Ukraine. The question who helped, I mean, eventually everybody helped, because everybody came together for the consensus. But I think if I, Sherpa would bear me out, I think the emerging markets took a particular lead on this and, you know, many of us have a strong history of working together. Bear in mind that actually you have four developing countries in succession as G20 presidency, Indonesia, us, Brazil and South Africa. But I would say rather than, you know, who helped, the point to be recognized is that a common landing point was ultimately fashioned out.

On the Black Sea Grain corridor, there are, you know, many discussions going on. As you know, the Foreign Minister of Russia is here, the President of Turkiye and his delegation are here, UN Secretary General is here, other people are here. So it's natural that there would be discussions going on, on this. In the past, I should add, when the Grain Corridor was created at Bali last year, we had also in our own way contributed to some bridging of viewpoints and concerns, both between, at that time, between Turkiye and Russia and also worked with the UN Secretary General.

On the sentence, you know, that phrase about having different viewpoints and assessments, I think we are being transparent. I mean, it is a fact, this is today a very polarizing issue, there are multiple views on this, there are a spectrum of views on this. So I think in all fairness, it was only right to record what was the reality in the meeting rooms and I think that is the sense that is sought to be captured.

And I will leave the climate action issue to Sherpa and I don't know if the Finance Minister would like to speak on it. But on the Global South, look, it is not what India has tried to do, beginning with our presidency, was to seek to ensure that the concerns of the Global South constitute the core agenda of the G20 deliberations. Because after three years of pandemic, after economic disruptions of various kinds, after the impact of the Ukraine conflict, after climate events, the fact is that the countries of the Global South are in deep economic distress. And that distress has not, in our view, been fully recognized till now and we therefore very consciously started off with the Voice of the Global South Summit. But again, I emphasize, the voice was of the Summit. It was a voice of 125 countries who participated in that Summit. But we as the G20 presidency, we saw it as our responsibility of distilling the views which were expressed in that Summit and putting it before the rest of the G20. We can take a lot of satisfaction that many of the issues that the Finance Minister highlighted, which Sherpa highlighted, these are truly Global South issues. And we hope that certainly the Delhi Summit and the deliberations which will take place today and tomorrow would give strong guidance to take them forward. Sherpa Amitabh ji, if you want to add to it.

Shri Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, India: On the Russia-Ukraine crisis, India worked very closely with Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia. And I want to say that it was the emerging markets which played a very key role. India worked with all the emerging markets which played a very key role. There was very tough, very ruthless negotiations which went on for several days non-stop. And I really feel that in the end, the issue was clenched, because of the leadership of the Prime Minister, beacuse eventually we had to say that the leader wants it, and this has to be delivered. And secondly, I really want to thank Mr. Jaishankar, I constantly took his advice and he guided me and he gave two really outstanding officers. One was Mr. Naidu, he is a very outstanding officer and very enthusiastic, motivated, young officer; who worked with me; Eenam Gambhir, they did a really outstanding job as far as the geopolitical issues concerned. I had two other Foreign Service officers who have done brilliant work, Abhay Thakur and Ashish Sinha, on different aspects. But on geopolitics, they've done a really spectacular work. So it was really great teamwork. It was just brilliant teamwork by India which has enabled us to achieve consensus on an issue on which the world has evaded any consensus. Even the Bali Document which we've talked about, actually we could not move forward with it because we could not arrive consensus on it in the first meeting.

And on climate, let me tell you that this is one of the most ambitious document on climate because it talks about almost 5.9…. It moves first the language from billions to trillions. And secondly, it talks about 5.9 trillion requirement for the presidency and for the G20 countries. And it lays a huge focus on LiFE principles. It lays a huge focus on reforms of the multilateral institutions because they were designed for the World War II and not for climate action. So all of these, it talks about new financing instruments, many other things. But in totality, if you look at it, it's probably the most vibrant, the most dynamic and the most ambitious document on climate action that has come out anywhere.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister: Finance Minister.

Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister: Just to add one line on the climate finance matter, the question was raised whether mitigation is being dealt with or not. It deals with the mitigation, alright. But it also looks at adaptation and resilience. I think now the debate on climate finance is also moving much more into resilience, whether it is infrastructure or planning for it or funding, resilience takes precedence. That is one. And second, country-specific solutions are now going to be possible. It's not going to be one size fits all. The problem of each country, particularly on climate, is so different from one another. So this Delhi Declaration and also the discussions which were held during India presidency has focused on that. And thirdly, pricing and non-pricing tools are also now available for countries to adopt. It is not just going to be price it if it is carbon intensive and forget the others. Countries do demand pricing as one of the tools but non-pricing solutions are also going to be a lot more friendlier to countries with different carbon emission levels. Thank you.

Priyasmita Dutta: Good evening to the panel. This is Priyasmita. I'm from Informist Media. My question is directed to Ma'am. That is, now that there is a global acceptance of the fact or at least a G20 acceptance of the fact regarding food and energy security, what is the immediate ramification on inflation and growth forecast both domestically and globally that you see? Thank you.

Stephen Borwick: Hi, Stephen Borwick [Inaudible]. My question is for Foreign Minister Jaishankar. Is today's achievement a step towards achieving what India has described as a world of greater multi-alignment as opposed to the more old-fashioned sense of an international rules-based order? Thank you.

Dr. Wael Awad: Yeah, thank you very much. I just wanted, Minister Jaishankar.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson (MEA): Please introduce yourself.

Dr. Wael Awad: Dr. Wael Awad from SANA correspondent in India. Mr. Jaishankar, Honourable Minister, when you talked of the counter-terrorism measure, how serious were the members of the G20 in fighting terrorism together? Thank you.

Samira Hussain: Samira Hussain with BBC News. I want to go back to Russia and if you look at the language that was used in Bali and you look at the language that was used now, gone is any reference to Russia and its aggression. Were those concessions made in order to get Russia to sign on and do you think the weight of this has been watered down and does that take away from its importance, especially when you're talking about fuel and food security?

Sir, Rishikesh from the Press Trust of India. So, everyone must be surprised by this outcome.

Mera sawal hain ki PM Modi ka jo personal bonding hai President Biden and Russian President Putin ke sath, uska kitna bada yogdan tha is declaration ko la pane mai? What role has China played in bringing this Declaration?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate translation] My question is, how significant was Prime Minister Modi's personal bonding with President Biden and Russian President Putin in bringing out this Declaration? What role has China played in bringing this Declaration?

Pranay Upadhyay: Sir Pranay Upadhyay hoon Zee News se, mera sawal is chiz ko lekar hain ki African Union ka jo G20 mai inclusion hua hain ye apne aap mai kafi record time mai hua hain, June mai Pradhanmantri ne in sabhi netaon ko chitti likhi thi, aur September mai ab hum is sthiti mai hain ki African Union ismai shamil hain. Kya kuch iske piche hua? India ne ismai kitna invest kiya iski lobbing ke liye ya iske prayas ke liye, thoda agar aap is bare mai sajha kar sake?

[Question in Hindi: Approximate translation] I am Pranay Upadhyay from Zee News, and my question is regarding the inclusion of the African Union in the G20 that has happened relatively quickly. In June, the Prime Minister wrote letters to all these Leaders, and now in September, we find ourselves in a situation where the African Union is a part of it. Has there been any specific effort or investment by India in terms of lobbying for this? Could you please share some information on this?

Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister: On the inflation question. Globally, of course, it's going to have an impact the moment it is executed, the understanding is executed, and the grain movement start from Russia and from Ukraine. So, particularly countries which have been hard pressed, which have originally and for a very long time depended on grains coming from these two countries. They are now waiting to have that back again. As a result, I think it will cool off inflation, particularly in food grains. Domestically, we've had very little grains coming in, except for edible oil, particularly sunflower oil. Our imports have not been so much dependent on these countries. There are times when we've brought in extra edible oil, and therefore to that extent, yes, it will certainly have an impact on domestic inflation as well. But largely, India's domestic inflation is affected by vagaries of the monsoon or supply side problems. Global impact is not as much as countries which are outside dependent on grains coming completely for their consumption from outside.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister: If I could respond to the question whether this is a world of multi alignment. I mean, first of all, when we are talking about G20, let us remember that this is a forum for international economic cooperation. Its primary focus is on economic growth and development. And in a way, the G20 itself is a reflection of multipolarity. The fact that there was, in a way, the salience of G7 was a decade ago replaced by the salience of the G20, I think that itself was a statement. Now, what you see before you in terms of the Leaders' Declaration and the discussions that are going on are obviously discussions among a very broad, very diverse range of countries at different levels of economic development, whose economic and social, cultural composition is quite different from each other. So, I think in that sense, it is quite reasonable to assume that there is a spectrum of views and interests out here which we have tried to harmonize to produce the Declaration.

The question on counter-terrorism, you know, what happens, I would draw your attention to paragraphs 74 and 75 of the Leaders' Declaration. 75 speaks about the role of the FATF because clearly the financing of terrorism is a very strong concern which the entire international community, not just the G20 shares; the 74 deals with illicit trafficking and diversion of small arms and light weapons, so I think these are concerns. So, within the G20, I think these conversations are quite helpful. But obviously, in terms of policy action, they will be carried into their particular mechanisms and forums which focus on the issue.

With regard to the comparison with the Bali Declaration, I would only say Bali was Bali, and New Delhi is New Delhi. I mean, Bali was a year ago, the situation was different. Many things have happened since then. And in fact, if you see in the geopolitical segment of the Leaders’ Declaration, there are in totality eight paragraphs, seven of which actually focus on the Ukraine issue. And many of them highlight problems which are of great contemporary significance, including the efforts of the Istanbul Agreements, the concerns about unimpeded deliveries of grain, food stuff, and fertilizers, the issues of attacks on the relevant infrastructure. So I think one should not have a theological view of this. I think the New Delhi Declaration responds to the situation and concerns as it is today. Just as the Bali Declaration did in a situation which was there a year ago.

And finally, with regard to the question on PM's personal bonding. Today, in fact, not just today, yesterday, and in some cases at the Jakarta East Asia Summit as well, where the Prime Minister was there, the Prime Minister did speak to a number of his counterparts with regard to what was under discussion at this Summit. So it is the responsibility of the Sherpa and of the ministers to put together the multiple strands and harmonize it into a document. But at the end of the day, I obviously do not want to go into very specific details. But at the end of the day, there are always gaps and issues and viewpoints. And I think today, especially Prime Minister talking to a number of leaders during the day, his meetings yesterday with some of them, with others during the Jakarta meeting, I think were all very, very influential, or I would say almost determining in producing an outcome.

Aur jo aakhari sawal jo aapka tha ke AU ka inclusion jo hain uski bahot tej gati se hui. Main aap logon ke ek yaad dilana chahta hoon ki Bali Summit ke dauran, Bali ke summit ke ant mai jo us samay African Union ke adhayaksh jo the Senegal ke rastrapati the Macky Sall, toh woh us samay pradhan mantri aur Indonesia ke rastrapati ke pass aaye aur unki shikayat thi ki G20 ki sadasyata ke baare mein jo African Union ka haq jo banta hai, uspe bilkul charcha nahi hui. To us samay Pradhanmantri ji ne unhe ashvashan diya tha, ki Bharat ki adhyakshta mei ye me jarur karvaunga. Mujhe yaad hai ye unhone kaha tha ki ye Modi ki guarantee hai aur ye guarantee aaj apne dekha hai ki unhone deliver kiya hai. Aur kuch hi din pehle jab hum log BRICS ke shikhar sammelan mein the, to wahi rashtrapati Macky Sall ji, wo Pradhanmantri ji ke paas aaye aur unhone kaha ki mujhe yad hai aapne ye vaada kiya tha aur mein aapki taarif karta hu ki aapne bahut jor lagaya usme.

[Answer in Hindi: Approximate translation] And the last question that you had about the speedy inclusion of the AU. I would like to remind everyone that during the Bali Summit, at the end of the Summit, the then President of the African Union, President Macky Sall of Senegal, approached the Prime Minister and the President of Indonesia. He had a grievance that the right of African Union of G20 membership had not been discussed at all. At that time, Prime Minister has assured him that he will do it during India’s presidency. I remember, he said that it’s Modi’s guarantee and you saw it today that this guarantee has been delivered. And some days ago, when we were in BRICS Summit, President Macky Sall came to Prime Minister and said that he remembers what Prime Minister had promised and he praised Prime Minister for his efforts towards it.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson (MEA): We will take a few more questions here. Yeah, go ahead.

Nikhil: This is Nikhil from the BBC. The question is for the Finance Minister. You said that the G20 now has its own mechanism on climate finance. So does that mean that the $100 billion promise from the West or the developed countries is pretty much dead now?

Mithil: This is Mithil from NBC News. I wanted to ask two questions.

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson (MEA): One question please.

Mithil: Okay, one question. The absence of President Xi Jinping at this Summit, does India see this as a snub towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially with the border issues, as well as President Joe Biden?

Sahil: Sir I'm Sahil from ANI News Agency. So what kind of framework can be expected regarding crypto assets among the G20 nations?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson (MEA): Could you ask your question again on the crypto? Could you repeat that?

Sahil: What kind of framework can be expected regarding the crypto assets among the G20 nations? And in addition to that, Ma'am, a supplementary question that since we have a consensus on making common framework on crypto assets, and G20 presidency will work with the FSPC and IMF closely. The joint report of FSPC and IMF says that a blanket ban on crypto assets is not a solution. So my question is that, is there a consensus on just to regulate it or ban it completely?

Speaker: This is [inaudible] from Climate Home News. You said this is the most ambitious document ever on climate. But India was pursuing an expanded language on phasing down fossil fuels, while the final Declaration basically goes back to just phasing down coal. Are you disappointed with this outcome?

Shri Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson (MEA): Sir I think we are running out of time and I will hand over the floor to Ma’am.

Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister: I'll start with the crypto. It's really heartening that you've gone through the report. But the point is, the FSB's report and the IMF's report; FSB's concentrated more on the regulation and IMF's looked at the macroeconomic implications. So the synthesis paper is something which the G20 membership will go through in detail. There is one more meeting under our presidency for the finance track in Marrakesh. I remember with great sense of responsibility and sorrow the earthquake which has happened very close to Marrakesh. I hope the people of Morocco are in a position to take on. And I was glad to hear the Prime Minister during the session in the morning said that India stands with Morocco and we will be ready to do any assistance that the Government of Morocco would desire us to do. So with that said, with a heavy heart, the next meeting was scheduled for Marrakesh. And there, the FSB report and the IMF, which is the synthesis report, will be discussed. And the materials are already available in public domain. So it is for the membership to take a call as to how it wants to move on it, a framework or a template, whatever be it. I don't think we've given it a name as yet. And also to now discuss whether it is going to be a regulation only and not a ban. I'm not getting into that debate. It is the reports, the synthesis, and also the early IMF report, both of which have been discussed. You're right in saying this report says this. It's up to the G20 membership to take a call on how it wants to move forward. And that you'll get to know more during the autumn meet of the World Bank.

There was a question on climate finance. I don't think it is a question of, are you writing off this $100 billion which was promised earlier and now that you've come up with a newer way of the funding climate…I don't think it is this or that. Whatever trickle had come earlier of the $100 billion or what it can come now through the private partnership or bringing in philanthropy or anything else can keep going on on that. But the fact remains that now the larger discussion has brought in very many more elements of how to finance. So both will have its own role to play because climate issues attain great sense of urgency.

Shri Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, India: So on the fossil fuel, I'd like to say that if you read through the entire document, it's very, very ambitious. First of all, for the first time, G20 has talked about tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030 globally. Secondly, this is the first document which talks about…which has very huge focus on fossil subsidies. And thirdly, this is the first time that there is a huge focus on billions to trillions of dollars in climate finance. There is a huge focus on Global Biofuel Alliance, which will be launched today. There's a huge focus on green hydrogen. And also there's a massive focus on energy resource efficiency and circular economy industry coalition. And there's a focus on, to my mind, very huge focus on the document…is actually a very, very strong focus on Lifestyle For Environment, which is LiFE, which the Prime Minister has initiated. And several studies have said that it can lead to IEA study has said that it can lead to 20% reduction in greenhouse emissions. So huge focus on climate action.

Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister: So let me conclude with the last question, which is the levels of participation. I think it's for every country to decide at what level they would be represented. I don't think one should overly read meanings into it. What I think is important is what is the position which that country has taken, how much that country has contributed to the deliberations and the outcomes. And I would say here that all the G20 members, and since the question was asked specifically about China, I would say China as well, that China was very supportive of the various outcomes and it is only because the members were supportive and enthusiastic and collaborative, that we were actually able to get this. In a sense today, as the representatives of the presidency, we are here to speak about the Declaration. But I would like to appreciate, this is the declaration of G20. Team G20 actually worked, Team G20 has been working for the entire year. Every country has pulled its weight. Every country has come here with a strong sense of responsibility. And let me finally take the occasion to also underline that we have a lot of colleagues in India. There are ministries and ministers and officials; who in their ministerial tracks… because broadly the way it is organised, Finance Minister, and her senior officials, who managed the financed track. Sherpa manages the Sherpa track with the support of others. But there are a number of other ministerial tracks, each one of them did their meetings, produced their outcomes, and I think their contribution, in a sense Team India contribution deserves to be recognised. But at the end of the day, the Leaders’ Declaration, in many ways while it is a collaborative work, very much bears the imprint of the Prime Minister. It reflects the vision of…in many ways there are a lot of ideas which came from him personally. Sherpa just mentioned LiFE as an example and Biofuel Alliance, another one, the Green Hydrogen as well. So the point is, this has been led by the Prime Minister, but it has been a collective effort by all of us, fit in the Indian government and Indian systems; but also all our colleagues in the G20 and I would like to take the occasion to really recognise that and appreciate that. Thank you.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson (MEA): Thank you very much Honourable Ministers, Sherpa, Finance Deputy, and Chief Coordinator of the G20; also to all of you for coming at short notice. Thank you and good afternoon.

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