Hamburg, Germany – Prime Minister Modi arrived in Hamburg during the late hours of July 6th for the 2017 G20 summit. This annual summit sees world leaders addressing and discussing issues pertaining to the economy, trade, markets, among others. Founded in 1999, G20 has been an important platform for the world’s emerging economies. It represents about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global GDP, and over 75% of global trade. This year however, the summit was being overshadowed by the massive swaths of protesters, at least in the media. Reports put the tally of protesters around 13,000, which included black-clad anarchists as well. The police had to resort to water canons, tear gas and pepper spray to finally stop the protests.
In the wake of the summit, tensions seemed high as well. Apart from the lurking US-Russia ‘encounter’, across the pond, India too had its own set of sticking points. One very public one was China. So much so that Modi and Xi never met during the summit. They shared the room during BRICS meetings and other events, but there were no substantial face-to-face encounters that led to potential consensus.
Modi also participated in the leaders’ retreat and the sessions on Global Growth and Trade and on Sustainable Development, Climate and Energy. Although counter-terrorism and economic reforms remained at the forefront of the discussions, the summit also saw issues like free and open trade, climate change, migration, sustainable development and global stability being given great importance.
Modi also held pre-planned meetings on sidelines of the summit with Argentina, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, the UK and Vietnam,
The 2017 G20, especially in its buildup, was dominated by US-led and/or protestor-led headlines. From the much-awaited handshake between Trump and Putin (turns out handshakes can only be so exciting) to FLOTUS being ‘trapped’ in her room, many other developments slipped below the radar. Somethings to keep in mind – Modi was extremely vocal about defeating terrorism. On several occasions, the PM portrayed such violent ideologies as purveyors of destruction, who don’t have rational understandings. Modi also engaged his counter-parts and held ‘productive’ talks with many of them. More details on that to follow. Modi might not have dominated headlines, but at such events you might not want to either.