NEW DELHI: In an exclusive conversation, Indonesia’s G-20 Sherpa, Dian Triansyah Djani expressed confidence that India, like Indonesia, will champion the interests of developing countries in the G-20. Excerpts:
Q: What are your expectations from India’s G-20 presidency?
A: Indonesia and India have been working together in many multilateral forums, including in the Non-Aligned Movement. We have always been pushing for the interests of developing countries. We have always championed interests of developing countries. I am quite confident that India’s presidency will continue these excellent efforts. The good thing about India’s presidency is that the Troika consists of Indonesia, India, and Brazil, which are all developing countries. So, the agenda of development, women’s agenda, and combating poverty, as well as achieving the SDG target, will be followed through by India. In Bali, we came up with concrete deliverables and the list of projects G-20 will be working on, and we hope this will also continue under India’s presidency. It will be important for the G-20 to be relevant by trying to help other countries outside the G-20.
Q: The Ukraine issue proved to be very divisive under Indonesia’s G-20 presidency, but the Bali Declaration managed to strike an acceptable formulation on the Ukraine issue. Going forward, do you think the unity and solidarity within G-20 will grow under India’s presidency?
A: Indonesia has always been trying to find solutions. We have always been bridge-builder and believe in forging consensus. If you ask me the reason behind the success story of Indonesia’s presidency, it was in getting the Leaders’ Declaration despite differences on the Ukraine issue. This could happen because we listen to everyone. India is also good at listening. And that is where as a non-aligned country, you will be able to play a very important role in trying to bridge the differences because Indonesia and India share the same position on many issues.
Q: Today, the world order is very fragmented. The UN is also not quite living up to expectations. That makes the G-20 more important. Looking ahead, how can India and Indonesia cooperate to advance reform of global governance?
A: We are members of many international groupings where India and Indonesia are major players. Multilateralism is the way to go; we do not have any choice. That is where we need to make sure that the UN measures up to the task; we must make sure that the IMF, WTO as well as other international organizations do the work for which they were created. The health crisis clearly shows that unless we work together to combat the pandemic like Covid-19, the world will continue to suffer. Under India’s presidency, we hope that we are able to find a mechanism to safeguard the world against pandemics.
Q: India’s G-20 presidency will carry forward the legacy of Indonesia’s presidency. What do you think will be the major contributions of India’s presidency?
A: In G-20, India is coming up with a new working group on disasters. As a country, we have faced all the major disasters in the world. Whether an earthquake, tsunami, cyclone or drought, India is well positioned to push for a G-20 initiative on combating disaster. India is a major player on energy and climate issues. The world is looking to India to take the lead in addressing these issues. There is still going to be a lot of crisis, but hopefully, under the Indian presidency, the economic downturn that the world has experienced will be overcome.
Q: PM Modi has spoken about making G-20 into “People’s G-20.” What are your views on enhancing people’s participation?
A: We support India’s pro-people initiatives all the way. That is why we came up with concrete deliverables because President Joko Widodo gave the instruction at the start of our presidency, that it should not be only a narrative, a policy type of document, but we must come up with concrete things. Under India’s presidency, we must make sure that G-20 becomes relevant to ordinary people. We are trying to translate it into concrete things that normal people can connect with. For instance, we did that in terms of working together with many G-20 nations in addressing health vaccination. We are both working together in trying to have a hub, not only for the production of vaccines, but also of therapeutic medicine. Under India’s presidency, the health agenda will be advanced.