India Hosts “The Voice of Global South” Summit, Gathers 120 Countries

India will host the virtual ‘The Voice of Global South’ Summit on January 12-13, according to Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra. The summit will bring together 120 countries from the Global South to share their perspectives and priorities on a common platform. India currently holds the presidency of the G20 group, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has indicated that priorities would be shaped in consultation with developing countries.

Theme and Sessions

The theme of the summit is ‘Unity of Voice, Unity of Purpose’, and it will consist of ten sessions over the course of two days. The inaugural and concluding sessions will be at the head of state or government level and will be hosted by the Prime Minister. The theme of the Inaugural Leaders’ session is ‘Voice of Global South – for Human-Centric Development’, and the theme of the Concluding Leaders’ session is ‘Unity of Voice -Unity of Purpose’.

Eight ministerial sessions will take place on the following themes:

  • Finance Ministers’ session on ‘Financing People-Centric Development’
  • Environment Ministers’ session on ‘Balancing Growth with Environment Friendly Lifestyles (LiFE)’
  • Foreign Ministers’ session on ‘Priorities of the Global South – Ensuring a Conducive Environment’
  • Energy Ministers’ session on ‘Energy Security and Development – Roadmap to Prosperity’
  • Health Ministers’ session on ‘Cooperation to Build Resilient Healthcare Systems’
  • Education Ministers session on ‘Human Resource Development and Capacity Building’
  • Commerce and Trade Ministers’ session on ‘Developing Synergies in the Global South – Trade, Technology, Tourism and Resources’

What is Global North and Global South?

The classification of countries as ‘Global North’ or ‘Global South’ is based on similarities in terms of wealth, indicators of education and healthcare, etc. ‘Global North’ refers loosely to countries like the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand, while ‘Global South’ includes countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. In recent years, some countries in the Global South, such as India and China, have experienced significant economic growth, challenging the idea that the North is the ideal.

The Global South and Geo-economics

The Global South is actively pursuing geo-economics, and fears of the US strategy of freezing dollar reserves has made the South cautious. The recent announcement by the US of its trade policies of ‘re-shoring’ and ‘friend-shoring’ has led the South to find ways of bypassing the dollar in bilateral trade by using local currencies. Currency swap arrangements are used by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) + 3 countries, and India with Russia and 23 other countries.

India as the Voice of Global South

India is eager to become a bridge between the North and the South by focusing on practical outcomes rather than returning to old ideological battles. To achieve this, India must actively engage with the messy regional politics within the developing world and come to terms with the fact that the Global South is not a coherent group and does not have a single shared agenda. This demands a tailored Indian policy to different regions and groups of the developing world. If India can translate this ambition into effective policy, there will be no contradiction between the simultaneous pursuit of universal and particular goals.



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