Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Hangzhou, China for the G20 summit was eventful would be an understatement.
Apart from meeting several world leaders and discussing key issues with them, Modi made one of the strongest statements against Pakistan and the country’s involvement in terrorism.
Here are the key issues on which Modi spoke during the G20 summit:
Pakistan and terrorism
Perhaps the most important statement made by the prime minister was his sharp attack on Pakistan, when he said on Monday, “Indeed, one single nation in South Asia is spreading these agents of terror in countries of our region.”
Soon after Modi’s assertion, the G20 countries, including India, also came down heavily on terrorism as they vowed to tackle all sources, techniques and channels of terror financing.
“We expect the international community to speak and act in unity, and to respond with urgency to fight this menace. Those who sponsor and support terrorism must be isolated and sanctioned, not rewarded,” Modi further said in his intervention during the concluding session of the meeting of the world’s 20 strong economies.
Modi had earlier said that India appreciates the G20’s initiative on combating the financing of terrorism and asserted that all countries should meet the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards.
“Growing forces of violence and terror pose a fundamental challenge. There are some nations that use it as an instrument of state policy. India has a policy of zero tolerance to terrorism. Because anything less than that is not enough,” Modi said.
“For us, a terrorist is a terrorist,” he asserted.
Modi’s remarks at the G20 Summit came a day after India called on other Brics members to intensify joint efforts to combat terrorism.
The comments also assume significance amid a war of words between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the unrest in the Kashmir Valley that broke out on 8 July after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces.
Indo-China ties, CPEC
Modi also raised India’s concerns with China over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the terrorism “emanating from the region”. Modi also told Chinese President Xi Jinping that the two countries need to be “sensitive” to each other’s strategic interests.
Asserting that the fight against terror should not be motivated by “political considerations”, Modi said it is of “paramount importance that we respect each other’s aspirations, concerns and strategic interests” to ensure durable bilateral ties.
Besides a host of energy-related projects, the CPEC consists of rail, road and pipelines to ferry oil and gas from Gwadar port on Arabian Sea to Kashghar in China’s Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province through PoK.
“As a matter of principle, both countries would have to be sensitive to each other’s strategic interests,” Vikas Swarup, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, said while touching upon broad themes that Modi stressed upon during his 35-minute bilateral with Xi, their eighth meeting.
“In order to promote positive convergence, we would also need to prevent growth of negative perception. For this, the specific actions by both countries would play the major role,” he said.
In particular, Modi highlighted that “we have succeeded in maintaining peace and tranquility on the border”, he added.
Condemning the recent suicide bomb attack on the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, Modi said it is yet another proof of the continuing scourge of terrorism.
“The Prime Minister reiterated that our response to terror must not be motivated by political considerations,” Swarup said.
About the bilateral relations — which experienced turbulence due to differences over a raft of issues involving Pakistan including China’s technical hold on UN ban against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar and its attempts to block India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) — Modi said in order to make the Asian century a reality, the countries of the continent would have to take responsibility.
Asked whether Modi raised the issue of China blocking India’s bid for the membership of the NSG during the bilateral, Swarup declined to get into the “nitty-gritty” of the issues discussed.
“I am not going into the nitty-gritty of each and everything that was discussed. Everything is not meant for public consumption. There are certain things (which) need to remain between the two governments,” he said.
On yet another question on the NSG issue, he said: “I will not go into the specifics, if you read between the lines, you pretty much understand when we talk about strategic interests, concerns and aspirations, it is not as if China is not unaware of our strategic interests, aspirations and concerns or we are unaware of their concerns. So, it is something both sides are well aware…This was a meeting at summit level between the two. They are meant to provide high-level guidance and direction to overall relations.”
Citing that India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, China had opposed its bid to join the elite 48-member bloc during NSG’s meeting in Seoul in June.
Modi said he always had a strategic vision for India-China ties. The India-China partnership is important not only for the two countries but for the entire region and the world.
Ahead of the 8th Brics Summit next month, Modi extended a personal invitation to Xi to come to Goa which the Chinese leader said he was very happy to accept.
Underlining that fighting corruption and black money is key to effective financial governance, Modi asked G20 leaders to act to eliminate safe havens for economic offenders, unconditionally extradite money launderers and end excessive banking secrecy that hide the corrupt.
“G20’s efforts should be for zero-tolerance for corruption and black money; zero administration, policy and treaty loopholes; zero barriers and full commitment to action,” Modi said in his intervention on the second day of the G20 Summit.
Modi said fighting corruption, black money and tax evasion were key to effective financial governance.
He said to achieve that “we need to act to eliminate safe havens for economic offenders, track down and unconditionally extradite money launderers and break down the web of complex international regulations and excessive banking secrecy that hide the corrupt and their deeds.”
A stable global economic and financial system is imperative for development as it promotes inclusive and sustainable growth, the prime minister said and called for further strengthening of the global financial safety net.
“We need a regular dialogue between the IMF, Regional Financial Arrangements and Bilateral Swap Arrangements. Important mechanisms like financial stability board should stick to their core mandate,” Swarup quoted the prime minister as saying in a series of tweets.
“IMF should remain a quota-based institution and not depend on borrowed resources,” Modi said, emphasing that the “long-delayed 15th General Review of Quotas must be completed by 2017 Annual Meetings.”
India has been pressing for reform of the Bretton Wood Institutions – IMF and World Bank – which would give it and other major emerging economies greater say in the multilateral lenders.
India had recently said governance reforms are required to ensure IMF’s credibility, legitimacy and effectiveness.
The Prime Minister said global trading regime must respond to needs and priorities of developing nations. “Global value chains must provide them level-playing field.”
Earlier, Modi said India’s priority was to work towards a Trade Facilitation Agreement for services and a “transformed and liberalised” investment regime has put India among top host nations for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
“Knowledge and innovation-driven economy requires free mobility,” he said.
At another intervention on ‘Robust International Trade and Investment’, he said the “global trade is at a cross roads”.
He said the vision of a “transparent, equitable, non-discriminatory, open, inclusive and rule-based global trading architecture should underpin collective efforts”.
Modi urged G20 members to fully implement the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial decisions to facilitate trade.
The Nairobi Decision builds on the earlier 2013 Bali Ministerial Decision on preferential rules. It includes Ministerial Decisions on agriculture covering a Special Safeguard Mechanism for developing countries (to counter import surges of farm items).
“Global trading regime must respond to needs and priorities of developing nations,” Modi said.
He closed his second intervention of the day saying global investment principles shouldn’t be prescriptive. “Countries need policy space depending on national circumstances and development focus.”