Group of twenty or G20 in short is a group of 20 nations including the EU which was established in 1999, to facilitate discussions and cooperation on global economic and financial issues. India holds the presidency for the year 2023- which is done in rotation.
There is a lot of buzz and excitement as top leaders, most powerful leaders are a part of this prestigious two day summit. As far as the government of India is concerned a lot is expected to happen in a short period of just two days. (Sat 9 Sep- Sunday 10 Sep).
As I was finishing writing this piece, G20 became G20+1= G21 – almost in real time- and that additional one is AU, African Union with 55 countries and a population of 1.4 billion people. It already had EU (European Union) as a member with 27 countries and a population of 448 million! On the first day it self G20 got a new identity of G21 adding 55 nations in one shot to its might. As an expert on TV debate observed that EU are the colonizers and AU nations mostly on the other side of the fence- colonized and marginalized. India has changed the geopolitical equation- a heavy weight element called African continent (AU) – yes one full continent has been added. Let us not forget that ‘Gold’ is a chemical element with the symbol Au (atomic number 79). Philosophically Modi touch is a Midas touch converting a huge land mass into gold.
A geopolitical event of this magnitude has a far reaching direct as well as a notional impact for India in the coming several years may be decades. You cannot put a price to friendship and relationships in such a situation. People who do not understand International Relations will always look at it like a son et lumie^re type of a show without being able to understand the actual might of the iceberg- they can only see the tip of it as glamour and glitter- song and drama. In its depth, a lot of treasure lies, invisible to many if not most.
There are no free lunches
Yes, that is right; to get things right or write history in a right way, you need to make genuine effort, invest your time, sweat and of course money. One may not have an exact idea of how many 24 carat man days or months and kilos of sweat equity was put into this mega event by team Bharat under the tireless leadership of Prime Minister Modi but the money spent was around 4200 Crore INR which translates to 560 million USD.
The dinner hosted by President of Bharat to G20 leaders was an exquisite Indian vegetarian platter.
On the D- day there was much dance and music to welcome the guests, which was intoxicating enough for some delegates to even dance to these Indian tunes.
PM Modi has put the right man at the right place and that is the first principle of good leadership.
Even endorsed by Chanakya centuries ago:-
‘The ruler should employ person in tasks according to their abilities because Knowers (or the means) and efficient employees make impossible tasks also possible.’
Bharat has put its best foot forward
This is one opportunity which no nation will be dumb enough to let go. India has so much to show case in terms of heritage, traditions, music, cuisine and dresses that even such a grand scale event of two days may be short on time to put things on display and let the guests fully absorb it. It is a high pressure high impact event.
The Prime Minister of India is 72 years old and his hands are more than full with G20 summit in New Delhi. He could have sent any senior minister for the ASEAN-India Summit and the East Asia Summit which was held in Jakarta just prior to the G20 summit in Delhi. But he did not give it a skip and went himself to attend it.
He returned from Indonesia after a visit that lasted less than 23 hours and was to receive US president within a short time after he landed back in Delhi late evening!
Out of the 23 hours for the trip, nearly 14 hours were spent flying to Jakarta and back meaning that minus the flight time, he spent less than nine hours in Jakarta. He was in Jakarta for just under 9 hours, conducting two back to back meetings which were “short but very productive.”
It is difficult to imagine the pressure on a man who refuses to give up on his commitment.
Criticism – As people are people after all
A mega event whose impact is humungous costs us INR 4000 crore plus and some- only a few – naysayers (I will define them a bit later) say that it is a waste of money! Can you believe this? This is Bharat and this can happen only in India.
A quick check into the ‘other’ expenses by ‘others’ can give us a better picture of such a large scale get together as some may like to call it. The President of United States travelling for this summit has a team of only 2000 people and his daily cost to the Americans is USD 200 million every day, totaling to more than 400 Million dollars. They have booked around 900 rooms in five star hotels in Delhi- yes he is the president of USA. I am sure others didn’t swim across the oceans and must have coughed up sizeable money too.
Such Diplomatic meetings at the highest level are a ‘trust’ building exercise. And ‘if you have trust nothing else matters and if you do not have trust, nothing else matters’. You cannot put a price tag to this as you cannot buy trust in a supermarket!
Let us deviate a little and look at large expenses incurred by big corporations in building trust through branding- through advertisements. Though some say it is not good to compare branding of a nation with branding of corporations. Two points on this- when you feel apples are too expensive you don’t compare the price with apples, you may look for watermelon or bananas instead. They may not be cheap too. Secondly some corporations like ‘apple’ itself may have a net worth bigger than GDP of a nation which is $2.5 trillion as of now.
HUL – Hindustan Unilever Limited’s advertisement budget is around 1300 crore INR in first quarter of 2023 and would be easily 1000 crore more than G20 expense by the year is over. They make soaps Bharat created 1.4 billion dreams. That is the difference. Johnson and Johnson global budget for advertisement last year was a whopping 2.1 billion dollars! The making of the movie ‘Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame’ was 1,000 million dollars. So let us take a break.
Who are the people who have a problem with expenses of branding Bharat? Dopes?
As a parting shot this one is important. They always miss the cake for the cherry!
Let me dwell on dopes a bit. Doping is the ‘intentional’ introduction of impurities into an intrinsic semiconductor for the purpose of modulating its electrical, optical and structural properties. Small numbers of dopant atoms can change the ability of a semiconductor to conduct electricity. This is the basis of semiconductor technology which has revolutionized electronic devices.
Since the electrical properties of a semiconductor material can be modified by these dopes, devices made from semiconductors can be used for amplification, switching, and energy conversion. The conductivity of silicon is increased by adding a small amount (of the order of 1 in 108) of pentavalent or trivalent atoms. Let me give an analogy.
India has a huge population and we are blessed that we have doping elements (in very small proportion, men and women both) who try to impede our progress but inadvertently augment the carrying and amplification properties of Bharat. These dopes are Pentavalent and Trivalent types but do help us in a big way. They are scattered all over the country- unevenly distributed- but pop up on TV debates or seen in some protests making noise. They underestimate their own value addition capability. They are the biggest asset for us moving forward. The more they speak the more united we become.
How can you miss on scams?
When you discuss an international event you cannot shortchange on other similar events. Just thirteen years back in 2010 India hosted Common Wealth Games (CWG) and the organizers made a mess out of it. Some of them are from this dope brigade I just mentioned. They pretended to be actual dopes as they thought common wealth means ‘Common booty’ so they did a good job (pun intended).
That scam involved astounding pilferage of ₹70,000 crores. Yes you got it right. The organizing committee made extraordinary plans initially, but all the promises turned out into a national embarrassment.
Now if someone has the cheek to say that Bharat splurged on G20 with an expense of INR 4200, they can expect the expected on their cheek. Not a kiss for sure!
This is the India way
The dopes had a problem with ‘Delhi declaration’ too. They could never imagine that it will go through- with Russia and China – in a way giving a miss at the highest level looked like a no show diplomatically speaking. Ongoing Russia Ukraine war- UREA (Ukraine, Russia, Europe, and America) was not even talked about. Entire thing going through 100% within the first few hours must have hurt them where it hurts the most.
“But it doesn’t take a thousand men to open a door, my lord.”
“It might to keep it open.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
Our external affairs minister summed up very well-
‘Bali was Bali, Delhi is Delhi’: Jaishankar on Delhi Declaration text on Ukraine
Bharat Bhagya Vidhata
“There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.”
― William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar