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Pm Modi G20 Interview

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday discussed India‘s position in the global order and the upcoming G20 meeting in an exclusive interview with PTI.

He dismissed rumors around objections from Pakistan and China on G20 meets being held in Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. He further said, “It’s natural to hold meets in every part of country.”

While talking about the G20 meet, he said, “In G20, our words and vision are seen by world as roadmap for future and not merely ideas.”
The Prime Minister asserted, dialogue and diplomacy is the only way to resolve different conflicts in different regions.

PM Modi’s full interview, as he shares views on G-20, climate, Chinese debt trap & more

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On this year’s G20 theme he said, “Theme of India’s G20 Presidency ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ not just slogan but comprehensive philosophy derived from our cultural ethos.””Africa is a top priority for us in G20; no future plan of earth can succeed without all voices being heard,” said the Prime Minister.Modi said India’s G20 Presidency also sowed seeds of confidence in countries of the so-called third world.

He also said inflation is the key issue faced by the world and India’s G20 Presidency led to the recognition that anti-inflation policies in one country do not harm others.

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“Indians today have great chance to lay foundation for growth that will be remembered for next thousand years,” he added.

The PM also praised India’s development in the recent years and said, “For long India seen as country of 1 billion hungry stomachs, now it is 1 billion aspirational minds, 2 billion skilled hands.”

Modi said that as a developed nation, the Indian economy will be even more inclusive and innovative, poor people will comprehensively win the battle against poverty, and the nation’s health, education and social sector outcomes will be among the best in the world.

“Corruption, casteism and communalism will have no place in our national life,” he said.

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“The quality of life of our people will be on par with the best countries of the world. Most importantly, we will achieve all of this while caring for both nature and culture,” he said.

A developed nation by 2047
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India’s economic growth is a “natural by-product” of his nine-year-old government’s political stability, as he expressed optimism that it will be a developed nation by 2047 with “corruption, casteism and communalism” having no place in our national life. In an exclusive interview with PTI late last week, the prime minister also stressed on the need for timely and clear communication of policy stance by central banks, and policy actions by each country in their fight against inflation so that it can prevent negative repercussions on others countries.

While most advanced economies are facing an economic slowdown, chronic shortages, high inflation, and ageing populations, the Indian economy is acknowledged to be the fastest-growing large economy with the largest youth population.

“For a long time in world history, India was one of the top economies of the world. Later, due to the impact of colonisation of various kinds, our global footprint was reduced,” he said.

“But now, India is again on the rise. The speed with which we jumped five spots, from the 10th largest economy to the fifth largest in less than a decade has conveyed the fact that India means business,” he noted.

Adding a fourth ‘D’ – development – to the 3Ds of democracy, demography and diversity, he said the period till 2047 is one of huge opportunity and “Indians who are living in this era have a great chance to lay a foundation for growth that will be remembered for the next thousand years.”

India’s USD 3.39 trillion GDP overtook that of the UK in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, making it the fifth-largest economy in the world behind the US, China, Japan and Germany.

In the three decades before 2014, Modi said, the country saw many governments that were unstable and therefore, unable to get much done.

“But in the last few years, the people have given a decisive mandate [to BJP], which has led to a stable government, predictable policies and clarity in the overall direction,” he said. “This stability is the reason that over the past nine years, several reforms were brought in.”

These reforms, related to the economy, education, financial sector, banks, digitalisation, welfare, inclusion and social sector, have laid a strong foundation, and “growth is a natural by-product,” he said. The rapid and sustained progress made by India has evoked interest across the world and many countries have been “watching our growth story very closely.”

“They are convinced that this progress is not an accident but is happening as a result of a clear, action-oriented roadmap of ‘Reform, Perform, Transform’,” he said.

“For a long time, India was perceived as a nation of over one billion hungry stomachs. But now, India is being seen as a nation of over one billion aspirational minds, more than two billion skilled hands, and hundreds of millions of young people,” he said.

He noted that India is home to more than 100 unicorns, is the third-largest start-up hub and its space sector’s achievements are being celebrated the world over. India is also breaking all previous records in almost every global sports event and more universities are entering the top rankings of the world year after year, he said.

“With such momentum, I am positive that we will be in the top three economies in the near future,” he said. “By 2047, I am sure that our country will be among the developed countries.”

PM Modi calls for reform of UN
A mid-20th century approach cannot serve the world in the 21st century, PM Modi has said, while strongly calling for reform of the United Nations in line with the changing realities of the world and to ensure representation of voices that matter. In an exclusive interview to PTI late last week, Modi said the G20 is one of the institutions that is being looked at with “hope” by many countries as the world is looking for actions and outcomes, “no matter where they come from.”

In its capacity as the current president of G20, India will host the annual summit of the influential grouping in New Delhi on September 9 and 10.

“Today’s world is a multipolar world where institutions are extremely important for a rules-based order that is fair and sensitive to all concerns. However, institutions can retain relevance only when they change with the times,” the prime minister said.

“A mid-20th century approach cannot serve the world in the 21st century. So, our international institutions need to recognise changing realities, expand their decision-making forums, relook at their priorities and ensure representation of voices that matter,” he said.

“When this is not done on time, then smaller or regional forums begin to attain more importance,” Modi said in the 80-minute interview.

“The G20 is certainly one of the institutions that is being looked at with hope by many countries. Because the world is looking for actions and outcomes, no matter where they come from.”

The prime minister noted that India’s Presidency of the G-20 has come at such a juncture.

“In this context, India’s position within the global framework becomes especially pertinent. As a diverse nation, the Mother of Democracy, the home to one of the world’s largest populations of youth, and the growth engine of the world, India has a lot to contribute to the shaping of the future of the world,” he said.

“The G20 has provided a platform for India to further its human-centric vision and also collaboratively work towards innovative solutions to problems that are faced by humanity as a whole.”

India has been pressing for reform of the United Nations, especially the UN Security Council.

New Delhi has been particularly upset over lack of any meaningful movement forward in the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform.

India is a strong contender for a permanent membership at the UN Security Council (UNSC).

At present, the UNSC comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries which are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly of the UN.

The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States and these countries can veto any substantive resolution.

There has been growing demand to increase the number of permanent members to reflect the contemporary global reality.

India makes case for biofuels grouping
India’s proposal for a global alliance on biofuels among members of the Group of 20 major economies will help accelerate sustainable biofuels deployment in support of the global energy transition, Pm Modi has said. The biofuels alliance, which the world’s third biggest oil consumer wants to push during its G20 presidency, mirrors the International Solar Alliance (ISA) piloted by New Delhi and Paris in 2015 to bring clean and affordable solar energy within the reach of all.

“Such (biofuel) alliances are aimed at creating options for developing countries to advance their energy transitions,” the prime minister told PTI in an exclusive interview late last week.

“Biofuels are also important from the perspective of a circular economy. Markets, trade, technology, and policy – all aspects of international cooperation are crucial in creating such opportunities,” he said.

Biofuel is a renewable source of energy which is derived from biomass. India, which imports over 85 per cent of its crude oil needs, is gradually building capacity to produce fuel from items including crop stubble, plant waste, and municipal solid waste.

“Such alternatives can enhance energy security, create opportunities for domestic industry, and create green jobs – all crucial elements in ensuring a transition that leaves no one behind,” Modi said.

While India is on schedule to double the mixing of ethanol extracted from sugarcane and agriculture waste to 20 per cent with petrol by 2025, dozens of compressed biogas (CBG) plants are being set up.

The alliance is aimed at facilitating cooperation and intensifying the use of sustainable biofuels, including in the transportation sector. Its focus primarily is on strengthening markets, facilitating global biofuels trade, development of concrete policy lesson-sharing, and provision of technical support for national biofuels programs worldwide.

Such an initiative is also aimed at helping India’s transition to alternative fuels and cutting its import bill, as it aims to achieve its net zero carbon emissions goal by 2070.

The prime minister said that in an interconnected and interdependent world, the greater the capacities and capabilities of the countries around the world, the greater the global resilience.

“When the links in a chain are weak, each crisis further weakens the complete chain. But when the links are strong, the global chain can handle any crisis, utilising each other’s strengths,” he said making a case for global alliance.

Stating that the protection and preservation of the planet for future generations was a shared responsibility that needs to be given top priority, he noted that great progress has been made in climate-centric initiatives within India.

“India ramped up its solar energy capacity 20-fold in just a few years. It is among the top four nations in the world in terms of wind energy. In the electric vehicle revolution, India is playing an important role in both innovation and adoption,” he said.

“We are perhaps the first among the G-20 countries to have achieved our climate targets nine years ahead of the scheduled date.”

Also, the action against single-use plastic has been recognised across the world. Great strides have also been made in safe sanitation and cleanliness.

“Naturally, we have moved from being just a member of global efforts to playing a leading role in many initiatives. Initiatives like the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure are bringing countries together for the planet. The ISA has got a great response with over 100 countries joining it,” he said.

The Mission LiFE initiative focuses on lifestyle for the environment. “Each lifestyle decision can be made based on what impact it will have on the planet in the long term,” he added.

The ISA aims to mobilise more than USD 1000 billion of investment needed by 2030 for the massive deployment of solar energy.

‘Past govts lacked confidence’
His government’s decision to host G-20 events across the country is an investment in capacity-building among people, cities and institutions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, as he took a jibe at previous governments asserting they lacked confidence in people’s abilities to hold mega events outside the capital, in smaller places. Modi said he had always had a great belief in people as he cited his organisational background to assert that he learnt a lot from many experiences during that phase of his life.

“I had the privilege of witnessing first-hand the feats common citizens were capable of when given a platform and an opportunity,” the prime minister told PTI in an interview late last week.

Modi spent decades in organisational works first in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and then in the BJP before starting his innings in a government role as Gujarat chief minister in 2001 before assuming prime ministership in 2014.

By the time India’s G20 presidency term ends, over 220 meetings would have happened across 60 cities in all 28 states and eight union territories, he said, adding that over one lakh participants from around 125 nationalities would witness the skills of Indians.

“Over 1.5 crore people in our country have been involved in these programmes or have come in touch with some aspects of them,” he said.

Asked about his rationale behind the concept of holding G-20 meetings across India, he said it has been observed that some countries, even if small in size, took up the responsibility of organising high-profile global meets, including Olympics, and were left with a positive and transformational impact by these mega events.

They gained in growth and changed their outlook towards themselves and also the way the world started to recognise their abilities, he said, adding that this in fact became a turning point in their development journey.

India, across its various states, union territories and cities has so much potential to welcome, host and connect with the world, the prime minister said.

He said he also appealed to various states during the Chief Ministers’ meeting that they should ensure that each state continues to strengthen its relationship with the delegates who visited them during G20 and their countries. “This will also open up a lot of opportunities for the people in future.”

“So, there is a deeper plan behind the decentralisation of the activities related to G20. We are investing in capacity building in our people, our institutions and our cities,” he said.

In a swipe at earlier governments, he said, “Unfortunately, in the past, there used to be an attitude of getting things done right here in Delhi, in and around Vigyan Bhavan. Perhaps because it was an easy way out. Or perhaps because those in power lacked confidence in the people of different parts of the country to successfully execute plans of such scale.”

His government, Modi said, changed the approach.

“If you observe carefully, over the years, we trusted the people of every region.The 8th BRICS Summit happened in Goa. The 2nd FIPIC summit involving many Pacific Island nations happened in Jaipur. The Global Entrepreneurship Summit happened in Hyderabad.

“Similarly, we ensured that many foreign leaders who visited our country were hosted at various places across the country rather than just in Delhi,” he said.

The same approach is continuing in the G20 too, albeit at a larger scale, he said.

Each such global scale assignment has pushed capacity building in several domains such as management of logistics, hospitality, tourism, soft skills, and execution of projects among others, he said, describing it as a big boost to people’s self-confidence in these places.

“Now, they know they can deliver something world-class. This capacity and confidence will also get channelised into various other constructive endeavours that will push progress and prosperity,” he said.

Moreover, he added, each state is also ensuring that they leave their unique cultural stamp on the minds of G20 delegates. This is also giving the world an idea of India’s incredible diversity, Modi said.

Africa on top priority during G20
India backs inclusion of the African Union as a full member of the Group of 20 largest economies as no plan for the future of the planet can be successful without the representation and recognition of all voices, PM Modi has said, days ahead of the annual summit of the influential bloc. In an exclusive interview to PTI late last week, Modi said Africa is “top priority” for India and that it works for the inclusion of those in global affairs who feel their voices are not being heard.

In the last few years, India has been positioning itself as a leading voice, flagging concerns, challenges and aspirations of the Global South or the developing nations, especially the African continent.

“I would like to draw your attention to the theme of our G20 presidency — ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — One Earth, One Family, One Future’. It is not just a slogan but a comprehensive philosophy that is derived from our cultural ethos,” Modi said during the wide-ranging interview at his Lok Kalyan Marg residence.

“This guides our outlook within India and towards the world too,” he said, responding to a question on India’s proposal for African Union’s G20 membership.

The prime minister has been leading from the front on the issue of the African Union’s membership of the G20. In June, Modi wrote to the G20 leaders pitching for according the African Union the full membership of the grouping at its New Delhi summit.

Weeks later, the proposal was formally included in the draft communique for the summit during the third G20 Sherpas meeting that took place in Karnataka’s Hampi in July.

A final decision on the proposal would be taken at the G20 summit to be held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10. The African Union (AU) is an influential organisation comprising 55 member states that make up the countries of the African continent.

The prime minister also referred to India’s hosting of the Voice of the Global South summit in January that was aimed at bringing to international stage the challenges facing the developing countries.

“Africa is a top priority for us even within the G20. One of the first things we did during our G20 Presidency was to hold the Voice of the Global South summit, which had enthusiastic participation from Africa,” Modi said.

“We believe that no plan for the future of the planet can be successful without the representation and recognition of all voices,” he said.

“There is a need to come out of a purely utilitarian world view and embrace a ‘Sarva Jana Hitaaya, Sarva Jana Sukhaaya’ (for the welfare of all, for the happiness of all) model,” he added.

The prime minister noted that India’s affinity to Africa is natural as it has had millennia-old cultural and commerce ties with the region.

“When we say we see the world as a family, we truly mean it. Every country’s voice matters, no matter the size, economy or region.

“In this, we are also inspired by the humane vision and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, and Kwame Nkrumah,” he said

The prime minister said the effort towards “greater inclusion” of the Global South, particularly Africa in global affairs has gained momentum and that India’s G20 presidency has sowed the “seeds of confidence” in the countries of the so-called ‘Third World’.

“They are gaining greater confidence to shape the direction of the world in the coming years on many issues such as climate change and global institutional reforms. We will move faster towards a more representative and inclusive order where every voice is heard,” he said.

“Further, all this will happen with the cooperation of the developed countries, because today, they are acknowledging the potential of the Global South more than ever before and recognising the aspirations of these countries as a force for the global good,” he said.

The G20 includes the world’s 19 wealthiest countries and the European Union.

(With inputs from PTI)

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