The Bold Voice of J&K

G-20 meetings in J&K, Ladakh will showcase development, progress of both UTs

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Manshu Sharma

G-20 Presidents and Prime Ministers may have to ignore China and its ‘all-weather friend’ Pakistan’s rant that powerful group’s meeting next year should not be held in Kashmir. China’s official spokesperson’s recent statements on this count and Pakistan’s rumblings point to the possibility of two countries using G-20 as a punching bag to hit at India. Pakistan is not a member of the globally influential G-20 that seeks to establish financial stability on the economic front internationally. As seen in the past, Pakistan seems to have found a way to vent its frustration by raising the bogey of Kashmir as India prepares to take over the G-20 presidency on December 1, 2022.
While the Pakistani leadership is clueless about getting the country out of ‘near bankruptcy’, its usual ploy is to flag Kashmir as a diversionary tactic and take its own people’s attention away from pressing bread-and-butter issues. What’s more significant this time round is that China has provided some ‘vocal power’ by stating that Kashmir cannot be a forum to host G-20 foreign ministers or summit-level meetings. Neither Beijing nor Islamabad have any business to bring up the Kashmir question, especially in relation to G-20 that came into being in 1996 to address economic and global challenges. At a time when a global economic crisis is staring in the face and G-20 leaders have to draft immediate responses and draw up a long-term roadmap to tackle lopsided development, China and Pakistan’s ‘Jugalbandi’ on Kashmir is more of a comic act of sorts. Responses from India to such pumped-up ‘diversionary tactics’ of China Pakistan duopoly have been firm and clear. India went ahead and stated that not only Jammu and Kashmir, even the picturesque Leh-Ladakh will be a venue for several G-20 meetings over the next one-and-a-half years. It is well within India’s right as G-20 President till November 30, 2023, to decide on venues, meetings and work plan for the most powerful non-partisan economic and development block. India’s right to showcase development and progress made after having carved out Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh as union territories is undeniable. No nation within the G-20 or outside should have any objection to re-starting of the democratic process beginning with district development councils elections and delimitation of constituencies in Islamic terror-ravaged Kashmir. Actually, India should effectively debunk the propaganda of Islamic terror modules, their handlers and nations backing them by showcasing the progress made in Jammu & Kashmir as well as Ladakh regions especially after amending Article 370 of Indian Constitution on August 5, 2019. Showcasing the true picture of Kashmir before the global community may turn out to be the antithesis of the negative propaganda unleashed by Islamist terror networks in the two decades. Ignoring this side show of China-Pakistan, India as G-20 President will have to work on expanding the group’s agenda to make it more inclusive, especially for developing and least developed countries. Leaving its imprint on G-20 with a purposeful and focused work plan is what needs to be attempted. Counter measures to tackle the global recession should become her priority. In the process, one cannot ignore IMF projections on world possibly heading for recession given the slowdown in China, adverse impact of sanctions on Russia post-Ukraine invasion and consequent spurt in commodity prices and related inflationary pressures. It will be pertinent to review and assess the economic progress made post-global meltdown and two years of COVID-19 pandemic.
While Bretton Wood institutions come up with growth estimates for 2023 and 2024 this month-end, initial computations project that economic growth may halve to 3.6 per from what was achieved in 2021. Economists would be more than happy if 3.6 per cent growth was achieved next two years without further slide. British economist Prof Nicholas Herbert Stern is optimistic that G-20 under the Indian presidency would be the ‘turning point’ with Prime Minister Modi expected to push for an inclusive and sustainable economic growth agenda. One would agree with Prof Stern that India was in that unique and special position to achieve the ‘unachievable’ and bolster the next phase of the growth cycle. Much of what Prime Minister Narendra Modi articulated at the Glasgow summit on climate change on November 2, 2021 may get subsumed into the agenda charted by India as G-20 President. Taking the G-20 out of the narrow economic and financial agenda and taking a holistic view with a focus on developing and least developed economies may get a push. The first Arun Jaitley memorial lecture delivered by Prime Minister Modi has provided the backdrop to economic and development thinking in the government. Investments by the private sector, especially in infrastructure sectors and their inter-linkage with growth and governance, may be flagged by Prime Minister Modi. Investments worth $ 2 trillion is what Prime Minister Modi may have to moot for developing and least developed countries by 2050 to achieve sustainable, equitable and broad-based economic growth. This work plan may not include China. A marathon growth run plan may have to be charted by India as president of G-20 with no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. While half such investment can be mobilized from domestic resources by respective countries, rich countries, international financial institutions and other stakeholders will have to pitch in the rest for this plan to pan out. A no-nonsense approach to the decade after the financial melt-down will have to be put in place. The Indian ethos and civilizational values outlined by her sages and thinkers like Chanakya may provide the right path to make India’s G-20 Presidency a roaring success. Disruptive moves made by China and Pakistan should not distract India or G-20 from the larger agenda for the world.

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