Prime Minister narendra Modi made a historic trip to Israel followed by a visit to Germany for the 12th G20 Summit, where world leaders discussed on developing an inclusive multilateral trading system and vowed to eliminate all terror safe havens.

By Harish Chandra

 

Hamburg played host to more than 20 heads of states and representatives of international organisations who congregated for the G20 summit held July 7-8, 2017. Combating terror remained on the top of the discussions held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the world leaders at the summit. Gopal Baglay, spokesperson of the ministry External affairs, informed counter-terrorism measures were the focus of all discussions Prime Minister Modi had with the European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Prime Minister Modi, who was the lead speaker on the theme of terrorism at the Leaders Retreat, made a strong pitch for global deterrent action against countries that support terrorism for their political goals. He presented an 11-point action plan to counter terror, including a ban on the entry of officials from terrorism supporting countries into G20 nations. He said, “Terrorism is the biggest challenge of our times. I thank Chancellor Merkel for choosing this topic.”

The G20 leaders agreed for taking concrete steps to stop funding of terror activities and pledged for greater coordination to counter the menace. The theme for the G20 summit this year was ‘Shaping an Inter-connected World’; and the leaders committed to keep the markets open, focus on reciprocity and non- discrimination, and fight against protectionism and unfair trade practices. On the sidelines of the summit, the Prime Minister participated in an informal meeting with leaders from other BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) nations. They discussed the geopolitical tensions with regard to Qatar in west Asia and North Korea in northern Asia.

Prime Minister Modi mentioned to his BRICS counterparts that India’s GDP growth has touched 7 per cent in the recent quarter and that its reform agenda has been boosted with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The Prime Minister had a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who appreciated India’s strong resolve against terrorism and success on economic growth, amidst tension in Sikkim. In a joint statement, both leaders resolved to use all policy tools — fiscal, monetary and structural — to enhance the resilience and potential of emerging markets. They urged G20 nations to support a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system; and urged the global community to continue to work towards implementing the Paris Climate Accord.

The Prime Minister also had talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg and President of Argentina Mauricio Macri. He invited Norwegian pension funds to invest in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). Addressing the third working session of summit on ‘Partnership with Africa, Migration and Health’, prime minister Modi said that G20 nations must walk the talk to facilitate technology and financial infusion in Africa. He spoke about India’s multi-layered development partnership with Africa which also emphasized on improving social, physical and IT infrastructure in Africa besides building capacity. On migration, the Prime Minister said that dealing with forced external migration called for a debate and cooperative policy framework. He added that external migration must be distinguished from legal migration.

The 2017 summit was the 12th meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20) which comprises of 19 countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union. Before landing in Germany, Prime Minister Modi was on a three-day trip to Israel from July 4. He became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country with which India have had bilateral relationship for two-and-ahalf decades. Here again the Prime Minister stressed on fighting terror together with Israel. Speaking to the media, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Modi in a joint statement said their focus is terrorism and called for global cooperation in fighting it. The Prime Minister declared his visit as a path-breaking journey of engagement. “As we march together, a strong and resilient partnership with Israel will be my intent and focus. India counts Israel among its important partners.

The need to rely on science, technology, innovation and higher technical education to overcome our developmental challenges is common to both of us. These domains also bring together the creative energy and ideas of the highly skilled youth and entrepreneurs of the two countries. Alongside building a partnership for shared economic prosperity, we are also cooperating to secure our societies against common threats such as terrorism.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said prime minister Modi’s trip was a deeply moving experience for him. “We are making history. prime minister Modi and I look ahead and at the same time have our feet firmly on the ground,” he said. India’s diplomatic ties with India were established in 1992 by the then Prime Minister of India P.V. Narasimha Rao. Israel has been a major supplier of military equipment to India after Russia and lately the US. India signed several defence deals, including the mediumand long-range surface-to-air missiles, with Israel only a few months prior to the Prime Minister’s visit. But the Indian prime minister’s visit cemented many other trade ties like on medical devices, water systems, etc.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs informed that India signed several agreements with Israel on science, agriculture and technology during the historic visit of the Prime Minister to Israel. Both countries are framing a strong economic base by strengthening cultural ties and signing deals designed to encourage the ‘Make in India’ programme. Prime Minister Modi said, “Over the coming decades, we want to frame a relationship that transforms the landscape of our economic engagement. India is the world’s fastest growing large economy. Our focus on using technology and innovation to meet our development priorities provides productive scope to expand our academic, scientific and research, and business links. We also want to put in place a robust security partnership to respond to shared threats to our peace, stability and prosperity. I will work with Prime Minister Netenyahu to craft and build a clear action agenda to realize these objectives.” Among other important engagements of the Prime Minsiter was his meeting with ten-year-old Moshe Holtzberg, who survived the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist attack while his parents were killed along with six others, when terrorists attacked the Nariman Point in Mumbai. Moshe was only two then. He was saved by his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel, who has been recognized as an honorary citizen of Israel for saving the two-year-old.