India “hopeful” to bring reforms on International Financial Institutions

Foreign Ministers of Jamaica, India, Guyana, and Portugal pose with representatives of ORF, Reliance Foundation, and UN-India at Mandarin Oriental in New York on September 23, 2023. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

New York: India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar has expressed optimism about implementing reforms related to International Financial Institutions before India passes the G20 Presidency to Brazil in December of this year.

“I’m hopeful we still have another two or two-and-a-half months of our G20 Presidency that we will get hopefully something moving on the reform of the International Financial Institutions” noted Jaishankar, while speaking at a side event “South Rising: Partnerships, Institutions, and Ideas” on the margins of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, on September 23, 2023, at Mandarin Oriental.

The event was jointly organized by the Reliance Foundation, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), United Nations-India, and the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations. Foreign Minister of Jamaica, Kamina Johnson-Smith, Foreign Minister of Portugal, João Gomes Cravinhoon, and Foreign Minister of Guyana, Hugh Hilton Todd joined Jaishankar in a panel discussion moderated by President of ORF, Samir Saran.

While announcing the theme for the evening, Saran said, “We are going to engage with a stellar ministerial panel and we will receive from them ideas, pathways, perspectives on where we are, where we are headed, and how do we get there.”

From left, Samir Saran, Kamina Johnson-Smith, S. Jaishankar, Hugh Hilton Todd, and João Gomes Cravinhoon during the panel discussion at Mandarin Oriental in New York on September 23, 2023. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

About the recent success of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, “A lot of folks are still surprised that we actually got everybody together. I don’t think they completely expected that… one set of people still wondering how that happened,” Jaishankar said while adding but there’s appreciation that India got the G20 to focus on the Global South.

According to him “To get actually the G20 to talk about what the world wanted it to talk – That was the real problem with the G20.” But then he quickly pointed out that based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion that “First let’s talk to the people who are not going to be on the table… [listen] to what they have to say,” adding “This is why we did the Voice of the Global South… it gave us the credentials, actually the empirical basis really to say look we’ve spoken to 125 countries and this is really what is troubling [Global South] and that is why we need to focus on these issues…”

He said Sustainable Development Goals such as green development, women-led development, and digital public infrastructure are crucial in determining “Global progress for the next decade.”

On the Women’s Reservation Bill, that was passed by both lower and upper houses of Indian Parliament earlier this week, Jaishankar said “There’s a lot of interest” and noted “Prime Minister of Samoa and I were discussing it in our previous meeting. I think a lot of countries are curious. I had a chat about it with the Egyptian Foreign Minister because they want to do something similar.”

Foreign Minister Johnson-Smith while commending India’s passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill, called the health crisis during the pandemic “A very focusing moment, especially for Foreign Ministers.”

“We were in a situation where you needed to call on friends for support. It is not a situation where there was domestic capacity that could be mobilized. It was a scarce resource, which everyone needed at the same time and in massive scale…” she recalled. “Who would you call? And more importantly who would answer? India answered. India answered the world, India answered small countries of the Caribbean. I have the Indian vaccine…”

She also praised initiatives such as Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and International Solar Alliance conceptualized by India, and voiced her support for reforms at the UN Security Council. She said small countries are calling for reforms in the International Financial Architecture as the current financial system is unable to meet its obligations.

João Gomes Cravinhoon, while lauding “India’s diplomacy” and India’s success during its G20 Presidency also called for reforms at the UN Security Council, and Multilateral Development Banks.

About the importance of Multilateralism in addressing global challenges, Hugh Hilton Todd said “Multilateralism is the key… No, no country, large or small, can survive in this international environment alone. You need a global effort. You need global governance, to work and to work for everyone.”

“Our G20 agenda champions substantial multilateral reforms, the pursuit of an equitable global trade system, green transitions, digital public infrastructure, sustainable lifestyles, and most crucially development led by women,” said Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj.



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