India had some specific demands at G20 . To what extent were these reflected in the final commentary?
Among our key concerns, the first was on totalisation agreements. (These agreements protect the pension and other benefit rights of workers who divide their working career between more than one country. This means they cannot be taxed by both countries to make contributions to social security pool). The communique says the social security contributions should be portable. So if India has offered, say, an EPF scheme, the G20 acknowledges it should be recognised by other countries to where Indian workers go for employment. It is a force multiplier for our negotiating position on bilateral agreements.
Similarly, there is an explicit recognition of the role of traditional medicines beyond our borders. But of course the big one was the mention of the concerted action on fugitive economic offenders. It required a lot of work from our side to get it in. The European Union had a different position on this issue and we had to explain how this could undermine global financial architecture.
The other was the recognition that countries should fulfil their climate finance commitments which was flagged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India has linked its hosting of G20 to its 75th year of celebration of Independence. How does the GOI plan to connect the two?
It is about the signalling. It is an occasion for all world leaders to visit India on the 75th anniversary of the Independence. India can showcase them the strength of our democracy, our model of inclusive development.
There are calls to expand the membership of G20 to African countries beyond South Africa. How do you reflect on this demand?
It was not on the agenda. It is a concern though whether the deliberations would improve with a larger membership, I am not sure. Germany has begun a programme Compact with Africa under the G20 rubric. It is gathering pace.