At G20 summit, India will call for greater cooperation on fugitive economic offenders

File photo of Nirav Modi. Photograph:( Facebook )

WION Buenos Aires, Argentina Nov 28, 2018, 09.40 AM (IST) Siddhant Sibal

Trade wars between the United States and China will be the top focus at the 13the G20 summit even as host Argentina will focus on South-South cooperation and India on highlighting the issue of terror, especially in its region. Speaking to WION ahead of the G20 summit that will take place in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, India’s sherpa or top negotiator at the grouping, Shaktikanta Das, said, “On FATF (Financial Action Task Force) leaders will spell out what kind of appeal or political message they would like to give to FATF. Not just passing laws to deal with terror but the actual implementation of FATF principals by all countries”. 

This comes against the backdrop of Pakistan’s inaction on 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed who roams the streets of that country freely and even wanted to contest the general elections. Earlier this year, Pakistan was blacklisted for failing to take strong action, especially against financial support to terror groups.

In the previous G20 summit held in Hamburg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given an 11-point agenda on terror.

Prime Minister Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for the fourth time this year on the sidelines of G20. They first met at the famous informal Wuhan summit in April followed by meetings on the sidelines of SCO and BRICS summit in China and South Africa.

In a pre-departure statement, Modi said, "I look forward to meeting leaders from other G-20 countries to review the work of G-20 in the last ten years of its existence and chart the ways and means to meet the new and upcoming challenges of the coming decade. We will deliberate on the situation of global economy and trade, international financial and tax systems, the future of work, women empowerment, infrastructure and sustainable development."

Prime Minister Modi is also expected to meet US President Donald Trump. The expected meet will be the first one since the S400 deal was signed between India and Russia. India hasn’t confirmed the meet with Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale saying New Delhi is “Currently working on several bilateral meetings”. 

Both India and the US have been focusing on terror emanating from Pakistan. The Indian prime minister had raised the issue with US Vice-President Mike Pence when the two met on the sidelines of the 13th East Asian summit just two weeks ago. Last week, US President Trump made known his displeasure with Islamabad when he justified his aid cut saying that the country does not do a single “damn thing”. He also came down on Pakistan for providing safe haven to Osama bin Laden who was killed by US forces in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in 2011.

India’s sherpa also told WION that India would call for “greater international cooperation on economic offences and offenders, especially fugitive economic offenders” and “economic offences pose a major threat to global economy”. This comes even as Nirav Modi, the man behind the infamous scam at Punjab National Bank and Vijay Mallya who owes billions of rupees to India’s public sector banks continue to stay in the UK, a fellow G20 country.

A BRICS meeting will also take place. A similar BRICS summit followed the 2017 G20 summit during which the talks between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping helped in defusing the Doklam crisis.

All in all, New Delhi will be using the high table to raise awareness about issues that concern today's increasingly fragile world. Meanwhile, host, Argentina will be focusing on giving perspective on south-south cooperation and raising the issue of cryptocurrency. Argentina’s ambassador to India Daniel Chuburu spoke to WION and said, “consensus is that cryptocurrency touches important issues like money laundering, protection of the right of investors, consumers, financing of terror”

Argentina is the first South American country to host the G20 summit. This is the 13th G20 summit and comes on the 10th anniversary of leaders summit which took place on the backdrop of financial crisis in 2008.

On South-South cooperation, Argentinian ambassador said, “Our sherpa and our minister have been visiting the region and developing member countries of the G20. We thought it was very important to bring the perspective of the south. The perspective of developing countries.”

But this year summit will have a lot of big bilaterals. US President Donald Trump will be meeting Chinese president Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. With Xi, Trump will be focusing on solving the current trade wars that have broken between world’s number one and number two economy. No solution means global growth can suffer in 2019. With Russian president, with whom he will be meeting for the second time this year, the focus will be on Syria and the current crisis in Ukraine.

The long shadow of Khashoggi murder will also have an impact some uncomfortable moments are expected when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman come face to face for the first time since the news of Khashoggi's killing came.

Story highlights

While the focus at the meet will be on the Ukraine conflict and the US-China trade war, India will also highlight the issue of terror in its region.