The African Union will be admitted as a member of the G20, according to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At the start of the G20 summit in New Delhi, the host said that the group of leading industrialized and emerging countries had agreed on this.
Modi is trying to project his country as the leader of the global south. For him, the admission of the African Union is therefore an important success of the summit. Until now, the European Union with its 27 member states was the only regional organization that is a member of the G20. The AU includes all internationally recognized African countries as well as the controversial country of Western Sahara under international law. There are 55 states in total.
“It is a pleasure”
The AU represents the interests of around 1.3 billion people and has the youngest and fastest growing population in the world. According to estimates, Africa could have around 2.5 billion inhabitants by 2050. Only around 450 million people live in the EU. EU Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the decision. “It is a pleasure to welcome the African Union as a new G20 member,” said von der Leyen.
The G20 group currently includes – in addition to the EU – 19 of the world’s strongest economies. It is a central forum for international economic cooperation, but now also deals with other global issues – from the fight against terrorism to climate protection and war. Against the backdrop of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the G20 meetings are one of the few remaining forums where the West and Russia meet directly.
USA – India: “The most important relationship in the 21st century”
US President Joe Biden has further strengthened US relations with the world’s most populous country. Immediately after his arrival in India, the 80-year-old US President was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in New Delhi. The meeting took place on the eve of the G20 summit, which has now officially begun. To the dismay of the media, Biden and Modi did not face members of the press.
There is an “undeniable warmth” and “trust” between the two politicians, a US government official said afterwards. “I believe that the United States’ most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century will be with India.”
“New chapter in bilateral cooperation”
The two countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in defense, space and research, according to a joint statement. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai also said the US and India had resolved their last outstanding dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO). This will “open a new chapter in bilateral cooperation” that will “deepen” the trade relations between the two countries.
Both sides considered the common values of “freedom, democracy, human rights, integration, pluralism and equal opportunities for all citizens” to be crucial, the joint statement continued. According to the US government, Biden regularly refers to the “importance of the health of democracy” in conversations with Modi. However, he does not do this in a way that creates the impression that one country is teaching another. India is developing.
This comment is probably aimed at the considerable criticism in the US media that there was before the meeting between Modi and Biden because media access was severely restricted. Modi of the Hindu nationalist BJP has been the country’s prime minister since 2014, and during his time in office India fell several places in rankings on democracy or press freedom.
Modi is also looking for solidarity
Despite this, the USA is aggressively trying to bind India more closely to itself as an important player in the Indo-Pacific and on the international stage. Just a few months ago, Biden welcomed Modi as a state guest at the White House. It is the clear goal of the US government to counter China’s desire for power in the region.
Modi, whose country is traditionally non-aligned, is also increasingly seeking relations with the USA – in view of very tense relations with Beijing. China’s head of state Xi Jinping and Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin will not take part in the summit of leading industrialized and emerging countries (G20).
jj/sti/rb/wa (afp, ap, dpa, rtr)