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India Hosts G-20 Tourism Summit in Kashmir

As the Global South is scaling new heights, G-20 is gaining more significance – economically and politically. The G-20 tourism summit was convened in Kashmir from May 22 to 24, under the G-20 presidency of India.

More than 60 delegates from 27 countries of the world came to Kashmir to attend the G-20 Summit. Once in the grip of separatists and extremists, making Kashmir the venue of the G-20 summit has multiple implications.

The objective was to demonstrate to the world that normalcy had been brought back to Kashmir. Besides, the main objective of this grand gathering was to showcase and promote the tourism of Kashmir. Pakistan placed a stern objection to the summit. In addition, China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey boycotted the summit in Kashmir.

The G20 presidency is a unique chapter in India’s future. This presidency is a long-awaited moment for India. Various initiatives have been taken for it throughout the year.   India has just convened another meeting of G20 development ministers in Varanasi.

Meetings and conferences on various aspects are being organized in about 50 cities under the presidency of India.  India is engineering its intellectual, administrative, and infrastructural capabilities and using social capital during its presidency.  India is enriching the G20 summit in various ways in consultation with various organizations, including academia, civil society, business, think tanks, labour unions and the scientific community. 

The G20 was born when the financial crisis of the late 1990s hit East Asia and Southeast Asia. The members of this group are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and European Union. From its inception, the group’s main objective was to ensure global financial stability by involving middle-income countries. Hence India’s presidency is something to observe closely. The G20 countries consume 80% of global energy consumption and contribute 85% of global gross domestic product. 60 per cent of the world’s population lives in these countries.

The theme for this year under India’s G-20 presidency is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, or “One Earth, One Family, One Future”. It is derived from the Sanskrit scriptures, which speak of an interrelationship between the various life forms – human, animal, plant and micro-organism – and their place. Apart from giving special importance to food security, India has prioritized various issues in the G20 during its presidency.

Last year Indonesia was at the helm of the G20. The priorities for 2022 were global health architecture, digital and economic transformation and clean energy transition. In line with that, India has prioritized digitalization to transform lives.

The world appreciates India’s G20 presidency, but Moscow’s bonhomie with New Delhi is uncomfortable for many G20 countries.  Through this presidency, India has a unique opportunity to align national priorities with its global aspirations.  Needless to say that the G20 tourism summit in Kashmir is a diplomatic and political success – although the heads of state summit will take place in September.  However, this G-20 summit in Kashmir has shown that Kashmir has changed. The Indian administration has been able to bring back normalcy in the region.

The valley has not witnessed sustained strikes, street protests or unannounced internet shutdowns for several years. However, Pakistan and a section of Western countries have criticized India for various issues, including human rights violations and political persecution. The Kashmir summit has ended well and set new expectations among the locals. More global tourists mean a more radiant and vibrant Kashmir.