Perched 1000 metres above sea level in the Bavarian Alps, in the pristine Schloss Elmau resort Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced G7 leaders to the Indian way of an eco-friendly LIFE and underscored New Delhi’s India-first foreign policy as he focused on knock-down effects of the Ukraine crisis on food crisis and energy crisis.
As the Group of 7 club of the world’s wealthiest nations vowed to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes”, and decided tighten the squeeze on Russia’s finances with new sanctions that include a gold export ban and a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil, Mr Modi pitched for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the festering crisis. In the two sessions he spoke at the G7 summit, PM Modi called for an immediate or as early as a possible end to the hostilities and advocated the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the situation. “Even in the present situation, we have constantly urged for the path of dialogue and diplomacy. The impact of this geopolitical tension is not just limited to Europe. The rising prices of energy and food grains are affecting all the countries,” he said at the session on “Stronger Together: Addressing Food Security and Advancing Gender Equality” at the G7 Summit here.
The Ukraine crisis dominated the agenda at the June 26-28 G7 summit, and figured in bilateral discussions PM Modi had with some G7 leaders. Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra placed India’s nuanced position on Ukraine in perspective. The prime minister very strongly put forward his view on the knockdown effect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he said at the media briefing at Kempinsky hotel.
Indicating that India will not cut down oil imports from Russia just to please the international community, PM Modi explained that “India would continue to do what it thinks is best in the interest of our own energy security when it comes to the question of global oil trade,” said India’s top diplomat. PM Modi made a valuable contribution to the G7 discourse on global food security by stressing India’s efforts to ensure the food security situation of the vulnerable economies.
India’s position on the polarising Ukraine crisis, grounded in its strategic autonomy, has earned appreciation from G7 leaders. “I think our position which the Prime Minister articulated during the G7 Summit was well understood. I would even say it was appreciated by his counterpart leaders from other countries,” Mr Kwatra said.
Enhancing multilateral coordination to combat corrosive effects of climate change featured prominently in G7 discussions. While
German President Olaf Scholz raised the bar and pushed hard for a climate club of green-minded nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased India as a model for developing countries for taking decisive action to curb climate change. Blaming the rich world for the current global crisis, Mr Modi exhorted rich countries to support India’s climate mitigation efforts and called for expanding the constituency of Triple-P pro-planet people. Alluding to the launch of the Global Initiative for LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) campaign last year, the Indian leader stressed that “the goal of this campaign is to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.” “We can call the followers of this movement Triple-P i.e. ‘pro planet people’, and we should all take the responsibility of increasing the number of Triple-P people in our own countries. This will be our greatest contribution to the coming generations.”
With the world leaders listening in, PM Modi highlighted a host of pioneering steps taken by India for green growth like achieving the target of 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol five months before the deadline and the target of 40 percent energy-capacity from non-fossil sources 9 years before time.”
In the two days PM Modi spent in Munich, PM Modi, besides speaking at G7 sessions, held a string of bilateral meetings with the leaders of Germany, Argentina, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and the president of the European Commission. Camaraderie, conviviality and comfort marked PM Modi’s interactions with world leaders.The enthusiasm and back-slapping with which he was greeted by world leaders showcased Modi’s rising stature as an international statesman who is consistently shaping the global agenda by aligning national goals with international obligations of India. US President Joe Biden walking up to meet PM Modi just as the latter was cosseted with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is one of the more captivating photos to emerge from the G7 summit this year.
The overarching message that emanated from the latest edition of the G7 summit is the growing recognition of India’s indispensability to addressing cross-cutting issues ranging from climate change and pandemic control to food and energy security. India is looked upon as a solution provider and part of any sustained effort to solve the challenges which are currently being faced by the world,” said Foreign Secretary Kwatra.
(Manish Chand is CEO-Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, and India and The World magazine. He is Director, Centre for Global Insights India, a think tank focused on global affairs. He is in Munich to report on and analyse G7 summit.