Behind India’s ‘entry’ into G13 | india | Hindustan Times
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Behind India’s ‘entry’ into G13

India, if British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are to be believed, is about to enter the G8 along with China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, reports Amit Baruah.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2008 04:34 IST
Amit Baruah

India, if British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are to be believed, is about to enter the G8 along with China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico — to turn the club of power into a G13.

India could still have a long wait to enter the UN Security Council as a permanent member given the major hurdles in the reform process — especially the attitude of the US — but entering the G8 looks a real possibility.

“It’s a question of common sense: how can you efficiently fight climate change, eliminate poverty or deal with global commercial issues without giving a key position to the representatives of 2.5 billion inhabitants?” Sarkozy told Hindustan Times in a recent interview about the claims of the G8.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Brown during his recent visit to India. He too spoke about an expanded G8 and reiterated support for New Delhi becoming a permanent member of the Security Council.

The issue of global warming and the “fight” against it, clearly, has caught the imagination of the Western world. And India and China are prime candidates of attention given their rapidly expanding economies.

In a few days, the Prime Ministers of Norway, Finland and Denmark, Jens Stoltenberg, Matti Vanhenen and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as well as the President of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, will be in New Delhi to attend the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit.

The summit, being organised by TERI from February 7-9, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and is likely to provide an opportunity to listen to views from some of the world’s most developed economies.

Speaking in Beijing on January 15, Singh made it clear that the “rights of our people to a fair chance to improve their lot cannot be abandoned because of environmental damage caused by others who followed a path which has squandered the earth’s resources”.

Whether or not India and the developed world see eye-to-eye on how to tackle climate change, this issue seems to have triggered a massive change on how key members of the G8 look at India, China and Brazil.

The sense seems to be that having these big, “polluting” countries inside the G8 might help in persuading them to go along with what the developed world would now want the rest of us to do.

The Doha trade agenda, of course, is another area where key developing countries are sought to be co-opted into the “mainstream” as it were of the world’s political economy.

As far as the reform of the Security Council is concerned, the momentum that was built up by the

G-4 — India, Germany, Brazil and Japan — fizzled out some time ago.

It remains to be seen whether leaders like Sarkozy and Brown will put their shoulder to the wheel in pushing India’s case at the Security Council. Reforming the G8 is an entirely easier proposition.