G20 Summit in India
The G20 leaders had previously declared in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in November 2020 that India would conduct the summit of the high-profile grouping in 2023 with a one-year delay because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and consequently, from December 2022, India will hold the presidency of the G20. Thus, Jammu and Kashmir have been chosen to host some G20 meetings.
The G20 is an economic and political alliance comprising the 19 biggest leading economies of the world including both developing and industrialized nations and the European Union, making up 80% of the global GDP, 75% of global trade, and 60% of the global population. Argentina, India, Canada, Australia, Germany, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, France, Saudi Arabia, Italy, United Kingdom, and the United States are the G20’s member countries.
Prime Minister Modi has been in charge of India’s representation at G20 summits since 2014. This year’s summit will be held in Bali, Indonesia, whereas, the 2019 summit was held in Osaka, Japan. Thus, the venues reflect that the G20 is hosted in scenic resort locations and Kashmir fits the bill. Kashmir will be hosting one of the biggest multilateral summits next year in 2023.
Under India’s presidency, the G20 will hold a total of 190 meetings across the country, some of which will be held in Jammu and Kashmir. The government has formed a special five-member committee to oversee the process which will be chaired by Kashmir’s secretary from the Housing and Urban Development department, while the other four members will be from the department of tourism, culture, transport, and hospitality.
However, Pakistan has opposed India as a G20 host and has raised some objections to this plan. A statement has been released by the Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson, Asim Iftikhar Ahmad that “the Government of India might be contemplating to hold some G20-related meeting or event in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). Pakistan completely rejects any such attempt by India.”
“Contemplating the holding of any G20-related meeting or event in J&K, in utter disregard of the globally acknowledged “disputed” status of the territory, is a travesty that the international community cannot accept under any circumstances.” Pakistan also appealed to the global community to call upon New Delhi to uphold the rights of the Kashmiri people and oppose the human rights violations in the Kashmir valley.
India has been oppressing Kashmiri women, children, and men by imposing extensive security forces under the draconian law of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990. The human rights situation has deteriorated further following the revocation of Kashmir’s special status.
Jammu & Kashmir: A Disputed Territory
China expressed its objections to India’s alleged plans to carry the G20 leaders’ summit in Jammu and Kashmir. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that “China’s position on Kashmir is consistent and clear cut. It is a legacy issue between India and Pakistan. It should be properly resolved in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and bilateral agreements.”
Since Pakistan is not a member of the G20, as part of its diplomatic offensive, Pakistan is currently appealing to its close allies like Saudi Arabia, China, and Turkey to convey its apprehensions and will likewise communicate with the UK and the US along with other G20 members to thwart Indian plans.
The majority of the Muslim nations have backed Pakistan on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, and the BJP’s anti-Muslim policies, since it came to power, have triggered formal diplomatic protests from several Muslim countries. Therefore, in response, the Modi administration must appease these adverse public opinions. By organizing this summit, India wants the world community to acknowledge its control and even “sovereignty” over the disputed territory, Jammu and Kashmir.
The inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir in this crucial international conference might also be portrayed as a diplomatic win for India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is expected to increase its domestic support. Many believe that it would be imprudent to hold the 2023 G20 summit here in the disputed region between India and Pakistan because of the ongoing militancy in Kashmir.
However, if the G20 leaders agree to India’s attempt to organize the summit in the disputed region, it will be a diplomatic “bonus” for the Modi administration and a confirmation of its domestic-focused foreign policy.
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