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Indian Insights - Sameer Kumar Khare, JS, Dept. of Economic Affairs

What’s Up, Germany? caught up with Sameer Kumar Khare, joint secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, to understand what India’s priorities are at the 2017 G20.

What are India’s expectations from the 2017 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hamburg?

India has huge expectations from this year’s leaders’ summit in Hamburg. We would like to see significant progress in these areas: active cooperation among G20 countries in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the UN framework; the completion of the International Monetary Fund’s 15th General Review of Quotas by 2019; collective action on technology facilitation mechanism, official development assistance (ODA) commitments, infrastructure, skilled professional mobility, remittances and global health.On the tax front, expeditious implementation of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), while respecting different national circumstances, is an expected outcome. We look forward to a timely implementation of the global standard on automatic exchange of information (AEOI). Any declaration on cyber threats should recognise threats originating not only from the G20 countries but also from countries outside the G20.There is a need for closer engagement to curb the channels and sources of terrorist financing. All further discussions on the issue of climate change should continue to be guided by the principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, specially the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). When it comes to healthcare, while providing the World Health Organisation a pivotal role, the G20 should look into issues of affordability and access to medicines. Further, India welcomes Africa-centric initiatives like “Compact with Africa”. Apart from these, the focus on female employment and combating corruption is noteworthy.

There remain areas of concern for us. We will not agree to fixing any deadline for phasing out inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies, because it will affect providing energy access to millions in our country. Secondly, adherence to the OECD’s Codes of Liberalisation of Capital Movements should not be extended to non-OECD countries. We are at different stages of development and at present, we are not in favour of aligning our capital account regime with the requirements of the code.

For India, what was the outcome of the meeting between the finance ministers and the central bank governors in March 2017 prior to the G20 summit?

The outcome, as a whole, was encouraging. We are happy that some of our concerns were reflected in the Baden-Baden Communiqué: inclusion of language on completion of the IMF’s 15th General Review of Quotas by agreed timelines, recognising threats of cyber security also from countries outside the G20 and implementation of the AEOI standard by committed timelines were satisfactory. We are also happy that fixing 2025 as a deadline for phasing out inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies was not incorporated in the communiqué.

Would you say the expression “One for all, and all for one”—which highlights our interconnectedness—applies more than ever before?

Definitely. Under the G20, we have been discussing various issues—growth strategies, global financial architecture, digitalisation, international taxation, green finance, terrorist financing, SDGs, health, education, women empowerment, corruption—which are common concerns for all. Peer-to-peer learning, sharing of best practices and policy coordination under the G20 umbrella has helped everyone in boosting growth and creating jobs. As there is a rising trend against globalisation and inward-looking policies are gaining momentum, the expression has gained greater relevance today. The answer lies in sidestepping these tendencies and working collectively under the G20.

What is India’s view on globalisation, ie, free trade?

We view rule-based, non-discriminatory free trade as an important avenue of growth. Recently, there has been a resurgence of protectionist pressures. We strongly support resistance to all forms of protectionism and fully support measures to open up trade in goods and services. Free trade will lead to an increase in the world output and competitiveness, resulting in higher income, employment and prosperity for mankind.

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— Sandra Day O’Connor, former US Supreme Court justice