India's Support For African Union's Inclusion in G-20 Matter of Justice: Experts
© AP PhotoLeaders gather for a group photo at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023
© AP Photo
Throughout its G-20 presidency, India has made extensive deliberations on expanding the economic forum, pushing for more developing nations to be made part of it.
India's support for the African Union's entry into the G-20 is based on the premise of undoing a historical wrong that has been in existence for decades, two international relations observers have said.
According to former Indian diplomat Rajiv Bhatia, who is presently a distinguished fellow for foreign policy studies at the Mumbai-based think tank Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, the induction of the African Union will make the G-20 more representative.
India's Inclusive Multilateralism to Propel African Union in G-20
"The answer to why it is crucial for India to expand the G-20 with African nations is because it's a matter of justice. The world is one family. Africa is part of it. And therefore the admission of its principal regional body, the African Union or AU, will indicate that G20 has become more representative," Bhatia told Sputnik India on Thursday.
He pointed out that for example, G-20 today represents about 65 percent of the world's population. If AU is admitted, then this figure will go from 65 to nearly 80 percent. Thus, this is a good example of what India calls inclusive multilateralism, and that is the reason why it is so crucial for India to have the African Union inside the G-20 on a regular basis as a member.
Bhatia stressed that history always shapes the decisions of the present and the planning for the future. But to be very specific, in this case, the issues related to the recent history of the evolution of G-20, G-20 originally, was really only G-7, the club of advanced nations.
It's only when, the former Indian ambassador to Myanmar, mentioned that the G-7 countries found that they could not deal with the economic crisis of the world, they established G-20 in 1999 and raised it to the level of heads of states and governments in 2008.
Forgotten Africa Reminds G-20 of Unfair Deal
The former Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs noted that in the process, G-7 brought Asia in and a few other countries, including some from Latin America, but completely forgot about Africa.
According to him, the G-7 said that the only country they need to have inside the G-20 should be Africa's richest country or the biggest economy, namely South Africa.
"But today, I think, the G-20 leaders are clear or about to be totally clear that this is not fair," Bhatia remarked.
On the other hand, another strategic affairs expert, Major General (Retd) Shashi Bhushan Asthana lambasted organizations like the UN for neglecting the African continent.
He stated that the main factor behind India's wholehearted support for the inclusion of the African Union is the behavior of institutions like the United Nations Security Council, which does not have a voice of African states at all.
Africa to Have Decision-Making Authority in Global Forums
Besides, Asthana highlighted that the G-7 doesn't have a voice from Africa. Markedly, Africa is a huge continent and this entire continent is left behind as far as representation in global organizations is concerned if one goes through multilateral bodies, including the world's largest institution, the United Nations, G-20, SCO, and BRICS.
"As of now if you see the representation of Africa, especially the poor nations of the continent they have no representation in global bodies. That's why, India wants to ensure that they have representation, they have a voice and have the decision-making authority to decide what is good or bad for them," Asthana explained.
At present, the former Indian Army officer observed that there was a select group that was occupying the UNSC and that select group was making decisions for Africa. Meanwhile, the G-20 is a forum that looks at economic aspects, including growth, and here again, it is making decisions for Africa.
"In this context, there is a need for Africa to decide what is good for Africans. Hence, this initiative of the inclusion of the African Union is very significant and shows the sincerity of purpose by India as far as one world, one family, and one future is concerned," Asthana asserted.