Context: Calling the existing Group of Seven (G-7) club a “very outdated group of countries”, US President recently said that he wanted to include India, Russia, South Korea, and Australia in the group.
More on the news:
- The US president has also deferred this year’s G-7 summit alleging that as a G7 does not properly represent what’s going on in the world.
- The US president has suggested that the Group of 7 be called “G10 or G11”, and proposed that the grouping meet in September or November this year.
- However, it still remains unclear whether the US President wanted the expansion of the G-7 to be permanent.
- Last year, the G-7 summit was held at Biarritz in southwestern France, where Prime Minister of India was invited to attend as a special guest of French President.
About G-7 Group
- It is an intergovernmental organization that was formed in 1975 by the top economies of the time as an informal forum to discuss pressing world issues.
- The G-7 does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters.
- The G-7 or ‘Group of Seven’ are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Canada joined the group in 1976, and the European Union began attending in 1977.
- The G-7 was known as the ‘G-8’ for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997.
- The Group returned to being called G-7 after Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
- The G-7 nations meet at annual summits that are presided over by leaders of member countries on a rotational basis.
- The summit is an informal gathering that lasts two days, in which leaders of member countries discuss a wide range of global issues.
- The host country typically gets to invite dignitaries from outside the G-7 to attend the Summit.
- The groundwork for the summit, including matters to be discussed and follow-up meetings, is done by the “Sherpas”.
- Sherpas are generally personal representatives or members of diplomatic staff such as ambassadors.
- The decisions taken by leaders during annual summits are non-binding.
- Initially formed as an effort by the US and its allies to discuss economic issues, the G-7 forum has deliberated about several challenges over the decades.
- It included issues such as the oil crashes of the 1970s, the economic changeover of ex-Soviet bloc nations, and many pressing issues such as financial crises, terrorism, arms control, and drug trafficking.
- The US President has suggested on several occasions that Russia be added again, given what he described as Moscow’s global strategic importance.
- The rise of India, China, and Brazil over the past few decades has reduced the G-7’s relevance, whose share in global GDP has now fallen to around 40%.
G-7 and G-20
- The G-20 was formed in 1999, in response to a felt need to bring more countries on board to address global economic concerns.
- G-20 members
- G-20 is a larger group of countries, which also includes G7 members.
- Apart from the G-7 countries, the G-20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.
- Relevance: The G-20 countries make up around 80% of the world’s economy.
- As opposed to the G-7, which discusses a broad range of issues, deliberations at the G-20 are confined to those concerning the global economy and financial markets.
- India is slated to host a G-20 summit in 2022.
- Signal to China
- The inclusion of four more countries into the G7, which has the world’s largest economies, is considered as a signal to China.
- This comes at a time when the US and China are in a bruising war of words over a range of issues from Hong Kong’s autonomy to Taiwan, the origins of Covid-19 to the South China Sea tensions, and trade issues.
- The proposal to re-admit Russia is expected to elicit strong reactions from other G7 member countries.
- What does it mean for India?
- India, which is also likely to be elected for the non-permanent member’s seat at the UN Security Council in New York, will be at the global high table next month.
- And expansion of G7 appears in line with India’s thinking that India deserves a place at the global decision-making bodies.
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