Reflections on the G20 Summit from China, India, and Russia
The Seventh G20 Summit concluded last Tuesday (June 19) in Los Cabos, Mexico. Convened against the backdrop of the Eurozone crisis, world leaders emphasized growth and employment, and agreed to uphold free trade. BRICS nations also pledged to increase their contributions to the International Monetary Fund. In this post, we examine commentary on the G20 from China, India, and Russia.
Coverage of the summit and related commentary convey the overall message that China is poised to play a constructive role in multilateral forums, and that the G20 is surpassing the G8’s role in global governance.
- This view was expressed by Chen Youjun of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS) in an interview, as well as Liu Youfa, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, in an article.
- However, Ye Jiang, Director of Global Governance at SIIS, expressed skepticism that the G20 will replace the G8 anytime soon.
The most strident critique of the distribution of power in global financial governance came from a Global Times editorial. Besides economic clout, financial influence is also determined by a country’s political credibility and military power, the paper stressed. It also argued that “China should have the courage to do highly risky things such as RMB internationalization.”
The G20 Summit generated mixed views on India’s role in global financial governance, as well as the overall relevance of the forum. India’s pledge to increase its contribution to the IMF by $10 billion took place in the context of Standard and Poor’s decision to downgrade India’s rating from stable to negative, citing slow growth, lack of reforms and weak public finances.
- While acknowledging that India’s economic prospects are intertwined with developments in the eurozone, an editorial in the Indian Express pointed out that ” India must pull itself out of the rut at home,” emphasizing the urgency of domestic reforms. Even the usually liberal-globalist Times of India, which expressed support for India’s IMF contribution, made a point of printing an opposing critique alongside its editorial.
- Cynical views of the G20’s relevance were printed in the Hindustan Times, both in an op-ed and in readers’ letters to the editor. This view also lamented “the lack of coherent leadership” in the Indian government.
- On the other hand, The Hindu, a left leaning nationalist paper, took pride in India’s role in pushing the G20 to emphasize growth, jobs and investment in developing economies.
Russian coverage of the G20 Summit revolved heavily around statements made by President Vladimir Putin and speculation on the direction of U.S.-Russia relations.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with U.S. President Barack Obama for over two hours on the sidelines of the G20 summit in what observers described as a “tense” exchange. “The bilateral relationship has certainly witnessed less challenging times,” noted Russia Today, pointing to Washington’s efforts to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe and disagreement on the deteriorating situation in Syria as sources of conflict in the U.S.-Russia relationship.
- At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which began several days after the summit, Putin reflected on the G20 meetings. He cited the need for “urgent coordinated action in order to restore and reinvigorate global finance” and called for “strengthening the role of the so-called developing countries …in the elaboration and adoption of steps shaping the global economic order.” Putin also emphasized the need for “a reform that will reflect the new economic balance of power” and stated that as the host for next year’s G20 meetings, he would make this a top priority issue.