Recently, France, a member of G-7 grouping, invited India to its special outreach session to be held at Biarritz, France during August 24-26, 2019. While extending the invitation, French President Emmanuel Macron lauded the role of India saying, “I would be particularly honored to be able to count on your presence. India forms part of our main partners, sharing our democratic values, united in the idea that only a joint and inclusive effort between our peoples will help promote globalisation that benefits all while protecting our planet.”The invitation was accepted by the government of India.
What is G-7?
G-7 is an informal bloc of seven industrially advanced countries i.e. United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and Japan. G-7 is not a formal grouping like the UN or NATO. But, it is a grouping which is seen as one most powerful associations in the world bringing together the most advanced countries at one platform. There are no formal criteria to become a member of G-7, but member countries are all developed democracies. Russia was a member of this grouping (then known as G-8) before it was expelled due to its actionin Crimea.
The Case for India’s Membership to G-7
This invitation to India is a routine affair of G-7 because it keeps inviting countries like China, India, and Brazil among others to its special sessions. But, in the last few years, voices in support of India’s membership to G-7 have started growing.
Shuvaloy Majumdar, former policy director to Canadian foreign ministers made the case for India’s entry to G-7. His case was based on the premise of India being the fastest growing economy growth in the world, becoming a $3 trillion economy and aiming to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025. India’s bold agenda for macro-economic reforms and ambitions for new strategic alignments under PM Modi further strengthen India’s case to enter G-7.
James Dobbins, senior fellow and distinguished chair at RAND Corporation, had also said if democracy and an open economy are the measures, India could be the next member of G-7.
There are many other things that make the case for India’s entry.
Even if there is no formal criterion, the common denominators among all the member countries are democracy, non-communist agenda, open economy, and large GDP. India fits the bill perfectly. India, the world’s largest democracy, has incrementally opened its economy since 1991 bringing in more reforms and cutting down on regulations. Even if India had maintained good relations with erstwhile USSR (now Russia, a former member of G-8), it clearly has no communist agenda to push. Further, India is the world’s fastest-growing GDP with GDP size larger than Canada, a G-7 member and competing with France, another G-7 member.
Another interesting point is the emergence of G-20 grouping which makes G-7 slightly irrelevant in current times. G-20, apart from G-7 countries, also includes countries like India, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Australia among others and thus, is more representative of the global population and GDP. In such times, to revive G-7, emerging countries like India, China, Saudi Arabia or Australia need to be made members. Out of all these countries, China’s communist agenda, Saudi’s non-democratic polity may not converge with G-7 requirements as clearly as India’s credentials. Further, in a fast-changing world order, the developed countries of G-7 need a bridge country from the developing bloc. Even in this case, India is their best option.
India is a rising star in the eastern hemisphere. With a well-regarded global leader like PM Modi, it is slated to gain more influence in coming days as explained by us in an earlier article, India’s association and not alignment (which Indian government continues to avoid) with regional or international blocs has much to offer them. It is now their call.