The successful conclusion of G20 summit in Delhi on Sunday has added honour and prestige to India in the world. Many heads of the state and government who attended the summit have praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership in steering a consensus declaration, something rare, and which skeptics had doubted, particularly China., as its president Xi Jinping had chosen to stay away from the meet. He had sent his prime minister Li Qiang to represent the country instead. The beauty of the consensus reflected in the Delhi Declaration is that no one is talking of China at the moment. The narrative has shifted from absence of Xi Jinping to the new avenues that PM Modi opened new windows to the world in line with the theme of the Indian presidency,” One Earth, One Family, One Future”. By all standards, it was a unique diplomatic triumph for India and PM Modi.
The world has acknowledged India’s leadership for its innovation enterprise and scripting a future in which all have stakes and reason to cooperate with one another. For many years to come, G 20 summit in Delhi will be remembered for the path it has shown to the world, how to reduce conflicts and march ahead on the path of conciliation to foster peace, as it is mandatory for the survival of the earth – the planet under stress due to the catastrophic effects of climate change.
India’s stupendous success at the G 20 summit after having held 200 meetings of the grouping in 58 cities in the country, is something that the world would find it difficult to match. This is India’s moment and the world is watching it with envy and awe.
There however are internal dimensions, critically as important on the external front. There are two issues which deserve an unqualified attention and appreciation. Jammu and Kashmir is an example of it. This was known to the world leaders, from the US president Joe Biden to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Sultan and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that India had held one of the meetings of the grouping in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir. This knowledge was important as China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were among the countries that had boycotted Srinagar meet. China had called it a “ disputed territory.” With the summit all the narration of the past about Kashmir has been erased .
It also was significant because Srinagar meet on tourism has been at the core of the Indian narrative that not only Kashmir-once a hotspot of terrorism , is now a hotspot of tourism , but also that it can be trusted for holding an incident-free G20 meet. This kind of event held in May , was unthinkable in Kashmir , where bombs, bullets and shootouts were the defining feature of the place . It is true that a lot of security related efforts were put in place to keep it free of any untoward incident, but the fact is that Kashmir has been under the shadow of security forces since 1990 . The forces were deployed in an unusually large numbers as Pakistan- sponsored terrorism , which also had its support base among natives for varied reasons, could not ensure such a mega event of the global scale in the past . Not only that even before the security forces were deployed in 1990, the Government of India could not dare to trust Kashmir for events of much less importance. Kashmir has carried with it a tag of the conflict zone since 1947.,
The summit and its outcome will not only change international community’s perception and description of Kashmir , but also to the people in Kashmir too. Many leaders who thought that the G20 meet in Delhi as India held presidency is something of a routine as all the 20 members get the presidency on rotational basis , must have seen that how India brought about a rare consensus in the grouping in its declaration .
A new matrix has been laid. But the task of Delhi vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir has become tougher. It needs to percolate the spirit of the G20 declaration within with soft power. There are many areas which need to be addressed on urgent basis, including making Jammu and Kashmir to march lockstep in the full democracy with the rest of the country. Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies Elections are good, but the cycle of democracy is incomplete without Assembly elections.