Magazine

English Hindi

Index

Prelims Capsule

International Relations

G7 Summit 2021 -History and facts about Group of Seven

G7 Summit 2021 -History and facts about Group of Seven

Relevance

  • GS 2 || International Relations || International Organizations || Miscellaneous

Why in news?

  • The  47th edition of the “Group of seven” summit in Carbis Bay, southwest England.
  • It is the first physical G7 summit to be held in two years.

What is G-7?

  • 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.
  • Initially, it was formed as an effort by the US and its allies to discuss economic issues.

History of the G-7

  • The concept of a forum for the world’s major industrialized countries emerged before the 1973 oil crisis.
  • The G7 draws its roots from a meeting between the current G7 members, excluding Canada, that took place in 1975.
  • At the time, the global economy was in a state of recession due to the OPEC oil embargo.
  • As the energy crisis was escalating, US Treasury Secretary George Schultz decided that it would be beneficial for the large players on the world stage to coordinate with each other on macroeconomic initiatives.

No legal existence or legal binding

  • Unlike other bodies such as NATO, the G7 has no legal existence, permanent secretariat, or official members.
  • Originally established as a vehicle for leading industrialized democracies to discuss the global economy, it has expanded its scope to issues such as peace and security, climate change, and now the coronavirus pandemic.

Members

  • The G7 members are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.
  • The G-7 became the G-8 in 1997 when Russia was invited to join.
  • In 2014, Russia was debarred after it took over Crimea. So, it became G7 again.
  • Together the member countries represent 40% of global GDP and 10% of the world’s population.
  • It also has no binding impact on policy and all decisions and commitments made at G7 meetings need to be ratified independently by governing bodies of member states.

Participation in Summits

  • The bloc meets annually to discuss issues of common interest like global economic governance, international security, and energy policy.
  • The “sherpas,” who are either personal representatives or members of diplomatic staff such as ambassadors, lay the basis for the summit, including the topics to be covered and follow-up meetings.
  • Leaders of major international organizations such as the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the United Nations are also invited.

Challenges

  • Internal disputes
    • Internally, the Group of 7 has a variety of disagreements, such as the United States dispute with other members over import duties and climate change action.
  • Not Representative
    • There are no G7 members from Africa, Latin America, or the southern hemisphere.
    • It is also facing a challenge from fast-growing emerging economies like India and Brazil are not members of the G7.
    • The G20, on the other hand, was established in 1999 to get additional countries on board to address global economic challenges.
  • Failing to reflect contemporary global political and economic conditions.
    • The organization has also been chastised for failing to reflect contemporary global political and economic conditions.

Agenda of G-7 this year

  • The UK currently holds the presidency of the G7 and has invited India, along with Australia, the Republic of Korea, and South Africa, as guest countries for the Summit.
  • The meetings was held in hybrid mode.
  • The theme for the summit is ‘Build Back Better’ and the UK has outlined four priority areas for its presidency
    • leading the global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics;
    • promoting future prosperity by championing free and fair trade;
    • tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity; and
    • championing shared values and open societies.

Expected outcomes

  • Break from Trump’s America First Policy: This will be US President Joe Biden’s first visit to Europe, where he will signal his key message “America is back”. This will be a shift from Trump’s American First Policy where the US withdrew from Global leadership roles.
  • US realignment with Russia:After meeting allies at the G7 summit US President Biden continues to a NATO conclave in Brussels, before his conversation with Russian President
  • Reviving Multilateralism: This corresponds to the US President’s first venture into multilateralism, when he hosted the first summit of leaders from “the Quad,” which includes Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. This is in stark contrast to Trump’s approach to bilateral negotiations.
  • Post-COVID Economic Recovery:The Group of Seven might make a further joint declaration on “a comprehensive plan to help end this pandemic as rapidly as possible.
  • Strategic Rival in China:The key element that is making the US  take the important step of engaging with Moscow to contain the damage in their bilateral ties is that the US wants to focus on its strategic rival, China.
  • Global Vaccination:Biden will announce a major new initiative to vaccinate the world against Covid-19 ahead of the G7 summit.
    • According to US media reports, the Biden administration is set to buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for international distribution. Doses will be aimed at developing countries.

India’s Participation

  • India’s attendance at the 45th Summit in Biarritz, France, in August 2019 reflects the country’s growing strategic alliance and status as a major economic power.
  • India was also invited to the United States’ 2020 summit, which was canceled owing to the pandemic.
  • India had previously attended the G-8 summit five times between 2005 and 2009.
  • Apart from India, Australia and South Korea are also invited to participate in the proceedings of the summit as “guest countries”.
  • Taking on Global Stage
    • India raised issues on climate change and at meetings which signaled India’s growing willingness to lead on issues that are points of contention for countries like China and the USA.
  • Building Back Greener: Climate and Nature’.
    • India Highlighted the non-democratic and unequal nature of global governance institutions, called for the reform of the multilateral system as the best signal of commitment to the cause of Open Societies.
  • Collective action on climate
    • India emphasized on the planet’s atmosphere, biodiversity and oceans cannot be protected by countries acting in silos and called for collective action on climate change.
    • India’s “unwavering commitment” to climate action, the commitment by Railways to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2030.

Significance of G-7 for  India

  • Tackling China:With an assertive China looming, the US is calling all like-minded countries to partner in dealing with Beijing. If the US and UK want to take the leap forward and constitute a global democratic alliance of 10-11 countries, it will be an important signal.
  • India may find its space in G-7
    • India has long called for reforming global institutions and groupings to reflect modern-day geopolitical realities.
    • Trumps’ offer to expand G7 fitted into India’s idea of being part of the global high table.
    • Diplomatically, a seat at the high table could help India further its security and foreign policy interests, especially at the nuclear club and UN Security Council reform as well as protecting its interests in the Indian Ocean.
  • More voice to raise issues
    • India will get more voice, more influence, and more power by entering the G7.
    • After the UN Security Council (UNSC), this is the most influential grouping.
    • If the group is expanded it will collectively address the humongous issues created by the Wuhan virus,
  • Vaccine Shortage:As India faces a massive shortage of vaccines. The US  will distribute vaccines to India as part of its “strategy for global vaccine sharing”
    • India is likely to get vaccines from the US both directly as well as through COVAX. Initial estimates suggest India will get about 2 to 3 million vaccines in the first tranche.
  • Russia: India will be extremely relieved as now the focus will be on China. This will relieve some tension that is built into the India-Russia relationship due to US rivalry with Russia.

Mains model question

  • Discuss the relevance of G7 countries today.

References