Countdown to 2024
by R Rajagopalan on 27 Sep 2022 1 Comment

2023 is the Year of India. 2023 is also the year of Narendra Modi. India is chairman of G-20 and president of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). World leaders will visit India twice in 2023, to attend these summits. Hectic diplomatic exercises have begun to welcome the US President, Russian President, Chinese President, and Heads of Government of United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely use these events to share with Indian voters that India is Viswa Guru, to generate a hype before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. 


Domestically, the Modi government has unleashed 5G and added optical fibre in all corners of the nation. The 2022 Union Budget allocated several thousands of crores for animation, graphics and artificial intelligence, areas that attract the young generation, and will be in position by 2024.


By 2023, the government would have moved into the new parliament chambers built in the last three years. An added attraction is the Central Vista. Modi took the Japanese Prime Minister to Varanasi to showcase our culture vide Ganga Aarti. At Sabarmati, Modi and Xi Jinping held a summit meeting. He also took the Chinese President to Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.


2023 is when several states assemblies go for elections. Opposition parties are in disarray and drenched in divisions. The Congress in 2014 and 2019, with three Gandhis leading the campaign trail, could not cross two digits in the Lok Sabha. How would the Congress fare with a non-Gandhi steering the Grand Old Party in 2024?


2023 will slowly and steadily witness the three Gandhis walk out of the gates of electoral history. Regional parties like Trinamool, JDU, DMK, TRS and Biju Janata Dal will claim top positions in their own states. Imagine if, in 2024, Trinamool Congress wrests West Bengal with 30 seats and Congress under Ashok Gehlot touches 30 Lok Sabha seats. Unless Congress crosses the magic figure of 150 Lok Sabha seats, and Left Parties win 60, there is no possibility of taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party under an evergreen 24x7 politician like Narendra Modi. So a hat-trick seems likely in 2024.  


In 2023, India is likely to surpass China as the world’s most populous country, as per the analysis of the United Nations. In 2021, India’s population was 1.412 billion, compared to China’s 1.426 billion and by 2050, it’s expected to increase at a much higher rate. In economy, India has overtaken the United Kingdom and become the fifth largest economy in the world. But population boom will go against economic growth.




Former Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is coordinator for the G20 summit, Amitabh Kant is India’s G20 Sherpa during its Presidency year. The G20 members are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union.


India will assume the Presidency of the G20 for one year from 01 December 2022 to 30 November 2023. India is expected to host over 200 G20 meetings across the country, beginning December 2022. The G20 Leaders' Summit at the level of Heads of State / Government is scheduled to be held on 09 and 10 September 2023 in New Delhi.


The G20 collectively account for 85% of global GDP, 75% of international trade and two-thirds of the world population, making it the premier forum for international economic cooperation. India is currently part of the G20 Troika (current, previous and incoming G20 Presidencies) comprising Indonesia, Italy and India. During our Presidency, India, Indonesia and Brazil would form the troika. This would be the first time when the troika would consist of three developing countries and emerging economies, providing them a greater voice.


The G20 currently comprises (i) Finance Track, with 8 workstreams (Global Macroeconomic Policies, Infrastructure Financing, International Financial Architecture, Sustainable Finance, Financial Inclusion, Health Finance, International Taxation, Financial Sector Reforms); (ii) Sherpa Track, with 12 workstreams (Anti-corruption, Agriculture, Culture, Development, Digital Economy, Employment, Environment and Climate, Education, Energy Transition, Health, Trade and Investment, Tourism); (iii) 10 Engagement Groups of private sector/civil society/independent bodies (Business 20, Civil 20, Labour 20, Parliament 20, Science 20, Supreme Audit Institutions 20, Think 20, Urban 20, Women 20 and Youth 20).


There has been a tradition of the G20 Presidency inviting Guest countries and International Organizations (IOs) to its meetings and Summit. Besides regular International Organizations (UN, IMF, World Bank, WHO, WTO, ILO, FSB and OECD) and Chairs of Regional Organizations (AU, AUDA-NEPAD and ASEAN), India will be inviting Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and UAE as Guest countries, as well as ISA (International Solar Alliance), CDRI (Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure) and ADB (Asian Development Bank) as Guest IOs.


Whilst our G20 priorities are being firmed up, ongoing conversations inter alia revolve around inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth; LiFE (Lifestyle For Environment); women’s empowerment; digital public infrastructure and tech-enabled development in areas ranging from health, agriculture and education to commerce, skill-mapping, culture and tourism; climate financing; circular economy; global food security; energy security; green hydrogen; disaster risk reduction and resilience; developmental cooperation; fight against economic crime; and multilateral reforms. 




In 2023, India will assume the chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation from Uzbekistan and host the summit. Prime Minister Modi is keen to select either Bengaluru or Thiruvananthapuram as the venue as part of his frequently stated desire to take international summits outside of Delhi and to the States, as part of his “Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas” paradigm.


Recently, at Samarkand, Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin that this is not the time for war (a reference to Ukraine), a statement much appreciated in Washington. French President Macron endorsed this statement and called for peace. Modi also sent a strong signal to Chinese President Xi regarding the Chinese warship YW5 snooping near South Indian nuclear stations from Hambantota Port near Colombo. 


Yet, at the SCO summit, acknowledged that Russian oil support helped India save several thousand crores. Russian subsidised oil helped compensate India in its support to Sri Lanka which is suffering its worst economic crisis, aggravated by Chinese debt.




In early 2023, India is expecting a State visit by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. This visit will strengthen India’s leadership of G-20. In return, Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to Australia is slated for February 2023, for the Quad meeting. These visits will add impetus to the on-going dialogues in trade, security, education, health and cyber security threats.


Multi-level delegations led by Piyush Goyal, Prahlad Joshi and Dharmendra Pradhan have visited Australia in recent months, after Anthony Albanese assumed Office. Australia needs Indian investments and skilled youth to turn Australia away from Chinese influence.


If all goes well, there are expectations that Australia Prime Minister Albanese will address a Joint Session of both houses of parliament at the Parliament building.


In the past eight years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has earned enormous goodwill from world leaders. From Tony Abbott to Scot Morrison, he will build a rapport with Anthony Albanese. Both India and Australia adopted a neutral posture vis-à-vis developments in the United Kingdom and the rise of Liz Truss following the exit of Boris Johnson. They shared this attitude towards the Ukraine war.


The sudden spurt of Chinese spy ships in Colombo is a threat to India and Australia, possibly aimed at the QUAD. India has urged Australia not to allow anti-India separatists organisations on its soil. In the first meeting of Quad after Albanese took office, Modi created a conducive atmosphere, which will be taken forward in coming months.


In the 15 months preceding the general elections, Modi will preside over the G20 and SCO, which will surely be a blessing in disguise for the BJP.


The author is a senior journalist

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