Special invitees at the high-table of the world's rich and powerful nations generated a momentum of their own on Thursday as India and four other nations co-opted as "outreach" partners by the Group of Eight decided to develop their own consultation mechanism that could well resemble a grouping of high-growth emerging economies.
"The PM said we are here as partners, not petitioners," Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met leaders from China, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa ahead of the G-8 summit of leaders in the Baltic beach resort of Heiligendamm on Friday.
He said the group decided to consider the possibility of coordination and consultations in the future.
"This is slow, steady progress. We find value in this and we intend to do this in future," Menon said. The leaders were helped by their diplomatic aides
What this means is that the five nations that represent about 42 per cent of the world's population, and showing high growth as markets and consumers of energy in the backdrop of concerns over global warming, could emerge as a confident force in international diplomacy alongside the G-8 nations that have economic clout arising from producing about 63 per cent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP).
Playing on the word "outreach" used by the G-8, Menon said, "It is out for them, not for us."
Among the group's concerns are the success of the stalled "Millennium Development Round" of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to further multilateral free trade hit now by clashes between the US and Europe over farm subsidies. The five also share a concern for poverty alleviation and back inclusive growth that enlists concerns of the poor.
"We come from the same interest -- primacy to development -- and we need to have a balance," Menon said but added that the forum was not an alternative to North-South cooperation but a process that reflected a changing world in which interdependence gave rise to various groups.
The Prime Minister and Chinese President Hu Jintao conferred with Mexican president Felipe Calderon, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, South African president Thabo Mbeki on a host of issues.
Much of the concern around the so-called O-5 has been around the explicit US position that China and India must be part of global efforts to cut carbon emissions if the drive to reduce harmful global warming is to make sense.
But China and India have clearly said that the US, as the world's leading global warmer, must walk its talk under a "common and differentiated" approach in which those nations that have gained more from industrialisation and carbon emissions in the past must share a higher burden of measures to check climate change.