- The Group of 7
- Logic of Expansion
- Economic circumstances
- The limitations of G7
- Need for a new institution
- Priorities of India
Expansion of G7: Seven to Eleven
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The next G7 summit, which was tentatively scheduled in Washington DC in mid-June, has been postponed by the host U.S. President Donald Trump. The President has proposed to expand the grouping and include emerging economies like India.
The Group of 7:
- The G-7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- It is an intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 1975 by the top economies of the time as an informal forum to discuss pressing world issues.
- Canada joined the group in 1976, and the European Union began attending in 1977.
- The G-7 was known as the ‘G-8’ for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997.
- However, Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
- The G-7 does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters.
- The decisions taken by leaders during annual summits are non-binding.
Logic of expansion:
- Mr. Trump declared that the G7 is a very outdated group of countries and is no longer significant.
- He proposed the expansion of the group to G10 or G11 instead, with the inclusion of India, South Korea, Australia and possibly Russia.
- The U.S. President wanted to include other countries, including the Five Eyes countries (an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States), and to talk about the future of China.
- China’s objection to an expanded G7 is no reason for India to stay away from it, if invited to join.
- India has attended several G7 summits earlier too, as a special invitee for its outreach sessions.
- When constituted, the G7 countries accounted for close to two-thirds of global GDP.
- According to a 2017 report they now account for less than a third of global GDP on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, and less than half on market exchange rates (MER) basis.
- The seven largest emerging economies (Emerging 7) comprise Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey.
- The E7 account for over a third of global GDP on purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, and over a quarter on MER basis.
- India’s economy is already the third largest in the world in PPP terms.
- By 2050, the PwC Report predicts, six of the seven of the world’s best performing economies will be China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia.
- It projects that India’s GDP will increase to $17 trillion in 2030 and $42 trillion in 2050 in PPP terms, in second place after China, just ahead of the United States.
The limitations of G7:
- The success of multilateral institutions is judged by whether or not they have successfully addressed the core global or regional challenges of the time.
- The G7 failed to head off the economic downturn of 2007-08, which led to the rise of the G20.
- The G7 has not covered contemporary issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the challenge of the Daesh, and the crisis of state collapse in West Asia.
- The G7 countries account for 59% of historic global CO2 emissions (from 1850 to 2010), and their coal fired plants emit twice more CO2 than those of the entire African continent.
- It had announced its members would phase out all fossil fuels and subsidies, but has not so far announced any plan of action to do so.
- West Asia is in a greater state of turmoil than at any point of time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, leading to a migrant crisis.
- Nothing significant has been done by G7 to bring stability in West Asia.
Need for a new institution:
- The world is in a state of disorder and the global economy has stalled with COVID-19.
- Nations need resilience to cope with the current flux and revival of multilateralism as the problems have become unresolvable internally.
- Existing international institutions have fallen short to address the present issues which forces the need for a new mechanism to help in attenuating them.
- It would be ideal to include in it the seven future leading economies, plus Germany, Japan, the U.K., France, Mexico, Turkey, South Korea, and Australia.
- A new international mechanism will have value only if it focuses on key global issues.
Priorities of India:
- India would be vitally interested in three issues: international trade, climate change, and the COVID-19 crisis.
- Second order priorities for India would be cross-cutting issues such as counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation.
- An immediate concern is to ensure effective implementation of the 1975 Biological Weapons Convention and the prevention of any possible cheating by its state parties by the possible creation of new microorganisms or viruses by using recombinant technologies.
- On regional issues, establishing a modus vivendi with Iran (co-existing in peace) would be important to ensure that it does not acquire nuclear weapons and is able to contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan, the Gulf and West Asia.
- The end state in Afghanistan would also be of interest to India, as also the reduction of tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.
There is an urgent need for a new robust multilateral organisation that provides a degree of confidence by promoting open markets, economic stimulus by preventing a collapse of the global financial system and addresses the pressing challenges of the world. The G11 will be fruitful only if it considers the present challenges rather than becoming a clique to oppose any particular country.