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Is Modi Government playing politics with G20 Presidency?

Why did India swap its turn to hold G20 presidency twice, with Italy & Indonesia?

Jairam Ramesh, Member of Parliament and Former Union Minister from Congress had tweeted that India had swapped its place with Italy and Indonesia to hold the G20 Summit in 9th & 10th September 2023 in New Delhi for ‘milking’ the event for electoral gains.

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Earlier this month, Jairam Ramesh had already criticized the hype being created around India’s G20 presidency which is rotational, and it was inevitable that India would get the presidency at some point in time. He also pointed out that several countries such as USA, UK, Canada, South Korea, France, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Turkey, China, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Italy & Indonesia have hosted the G20 event but none of these countries staged a “high voltage drama” that the current administration is doing.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh (ANI Photo)

Coming back to the claim that India swapped places with Italy, it is evident from this article from 2018 which explains India’s arrangement with Italy to swap their turns to host the event in India. India was originally slated to host the G20 event in 2021 and Italy was to hold the event in 2022. However, in 2018, India negotiated with Italy to swap the turns to host the event which put Italy’s turn in 2021, India’s turn in 2022 and followed by Indonesia in 2023. At that time, it was reported that the change was made to coincide with India’s 75 years of Independence.

G20 Summit, Rome, Italy.

However, India made another change in this line up to host G20 summits, this time by swapping places with Indonesia. It was reported in 2020 that India had switched places with Indonesia, enabling India to hold the G20 Summit in 2023 at New Delhi.

The initial swap with Italy by India to hold the G20 meet citing that the event should coincide with India’s 75 years of Independence is understandable but another swap with Indonesia to push the date of the summit held by India to the second half of 2023 is quite strange as it was reported that there had been no official reason for the changes.

It is interesting to note that India is going all guns blazing to hype up the G20 Summit and to cement the “Vishwa Guru” tag to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was originally intended for India heading into the next 25 years leading up to the 100 years of Independence.

Dharmendra Pradhan, the Union Minister of Education, had appealed educational institutes, NGOs and social organizations to conduct competitions on the theme of India’s G20 presidency in a Twitter post.

This comes after the government’s move to make the G20 logo omnipresent in the country which was also heavily criticized by the opposition as the government left no stone unturned. Government websites, several public places & government offices now bear the G20 insignia with several sites under of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) had been projecting the logo on to the monuments.

A side-by-side comparison of the BJP Logo and the G20 logo, both featuring lotus in their design.

The logo itself has been criticized for resembling BJP’s election symbol, the lotus, which the BJP had claimed to represent the India’s cultural & “national” flower, along with colors such as saffron and green which also takes prime place in BJP’s official flag. Jairam Ramesh had criticized the logo vehemently that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP won’t lose any opportunity to promote themselves shamelessly.

With elections expected to be held in the April, May of 2024, Modi government’s publicity push for G20 which is alleged to have a BJP’s party emblem, is bound to attract harsh criticism from opposition, as the party symbol would be publicized everywhere to everyone at Government’s expenditure.

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