Group Seven 48th Summit at Rhineland Target Russia

The primary aim of G7 is to undertake macroeconomic initiatives against economic issues faced by the global recession and energy crisis, and also fight jointly against manmade and natural disasters. But, G7 leaders’ hidden agenda is to discuss the repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine war on the world economy and the imposition of harsher sanctions against Russia. However, the relevance of Group 7 is under the scanner.

By Col Alok Mathur

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Schloss Elmau, a grand four-storey national monument built in 1916 by Johannes Muller and architect Carl Sattler at Krun town, Bavaria Alps in southern Germany, is the venue of the 48th G7 Summit from June 26 to 28, 2022. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the dignitaries from other six member countries the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, and also the head of the European Union. India, Indonesia, Argentina, Senegal, South Africa and Ukraine have been invited as guest nations. The hidden agenda for the seven wealthiest democracies of the world is to discuss the repercussions of the Russia and Ukraine War on the World economy and the imposition of harsher sanctions against Russia. Environment protection, Green Energy, Health awareness, Food Security, Gender Inequality and counter-terrorism are part of the formal superficial agenda. Russia, an ex-member of the organisation, has questioned the relevance of G7 in the present geopolitical scenario and declared it biased.

Group of Seven, formed on March 25, 1973, is a political, non-military organisation of the largest advanced economies and wealthiest liberal democracies of the world. The current members are the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, which is the present chairman of the forum. Germany will take over as chairman w.e.f. January 1, 2023. The European Union president is a permanent invitee since 1981. G7 accounts for 60% of the global net wealth, and 40% of the global gross domestic product but represents only 10% of the global masses.

Evolution through the years

The original forum, called the Library Group, of the major developed industrialised countries, emerged in 1973 just before the Oil crisis. George Schultz, secretary of state treasury of the USA, invited finance ministers of Britain, France and West Germany to plan a strategy to cope with the financial crisis. The venue offered by US President Richard Nixon was Library on the ground floor of the White House. Accordingly, the original Group of Four was known as the Library Group. Japan was added to the forum in June 1973 on the recommendation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, thus the group was upgraded to G5. The official first summit of Group 6, as Italy was also added, was held at Rambouillet, France in November 1975 and 15 Points declaration was announced promoting free trade, multilateralism, the progress of underdeveloped countries and friendship with the Eastern Bloc and was decided that the forum will meet every year. Canada was incorporated in 1976 at Dorado, Puerto Rico as the seventh member, thus renaming the Group G7.

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The G7 group is planning to ban gold imports from Russia along with a cap on Oil and Gas. Russia earns maximum foreign exchange from gold exports as it is the largest producer of gold. This will lead to a clash of Interests as Russia and India friendship is time-tested

The United Kingdom suggested in 1977 that European Economic Community should also be included and the forum inducted EEC in 1981. Russian President Boris Yelstin was invited as a guest observer in 1997 keeping in view world peace and Russia was formally inducted in 1998 resulting in renaming the Group of Seven to G8. There was a lot of resistance as Russia was a communist country and neither was an economic power nor a democracy, only a strong military power. Russian membership was suspended in March 2014 as it annexed Crimea. Russia finally withdrew in 2017. President Trump wanted the re-induction of Russia in 2020 but the proposal was vetoed by other members. There is a proposal to add Australia and South Korea to the group and rename it G10. Forum invites a few important countries as observer groups, including India, South Africa, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, Poland and Spain.

Objectives of the group

Group 7 has been created with the primary aim to undertake macroeconomic initiatives against economic issues faced by the global recession, and energy crisis and also fight jointly against manmade and natural disasters. The other objectives are global security, human rights and defusing volatile situations through peaceful negotiations, debt relief packages for heavily indebted third world countries and strengthening the World Bank and IMF by huge donations to help poor countries. The G7 forum is committed to helping the world to recover from the pandemic through a global mass vaccination programme, minimise biodiversity loss, action plan against climate change and promoting democracy and shared values of cooperation and peace

The G7 forum is committed to helping the world to recover from the pandemic through a global mass vaccination programme, minimise biodiversity loss, action plan against climate change and promoting democracy and shared values of cooperation and peace

The first summit was held in Yvelines, France in November 1975, then Dorado, USA in Jun 1976, London in 1977, Bonn, West Germany in 1978, Tokyo 1979, Venice 1980, Quebec 1981, Versailles 1982, Virginia USA 1983, London 1984, Bonn 1985, Tokyo 1986, Venice 1987, Toronto 1988, Paris 1989, Houston 1990, London 1991, Munich 1992, Tokyo 1993, Naples 1994, Halifax 1995, Lyon 1996, Denver 1997, Birmingham 1998, Cologne 1999, Okinawa 2000, Liguria 2001, Alberta 2002, Haute Savoie 2003, Georgia 2004, Gleneagles, Scotland 2005, Saint Petersburg 2006, Vorpommern 2007, Hokkaido 2008, Abruzzo 2009, Ontario 2010, Calvados 2011, Camp David 2012, Fermanagh 2013, Brussels 2014, Bavaria 2015, Shima 2016, Sicily 2017, Quebec 2018, Atlantiques 2019. The 46th G7 meeting was planned to be held in Camp David Maryland, the USA on March 19, 2020 but had to be cancelled due to the first wave of Covid 19 pandemic as the USA was the worst hit. It was finally held in Cornwall, England from June 11-13, 2021.

Motto of the summit

The 48th Group of Seven summit, which is being held at Krun town, 113 km south of Munich in Germany, will be presided over by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (the host) and attended by President Joe Biden (USA), PM Boris Johnson (UK), PM Justin Trudeau (Canada), President Emmanuel Macron (France), PM Mario Draghi (Italy). PM Fumino Kishida (Japan) and two reps of the European Union (EU) Ursula von Leyen EU commission president and Charles Michel EU council head. There were six special invitees also. PM Narendra Modi (India), PM Alberoto Fernandez (Argentina), President Joko Widodo (Indonesia) and President Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa) and President Macky Sall (Senegal) and a special invitee is President Voldymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. The motto of the summit was World Peace and Harmony and the end of the Ukraine War.

The major decisions taken during the 47th summit held in England were first, Global mass vaccination with special emphasis on vaccination of the poorest of the poor. The total vaccines produced so far amount to 2.5 billion in the world but only 0.3% have reached the Third world. G7 countries have pledged to give one billion doses of vaccines to other developing countries at the earliest. India and South Africa proposed to waive patents and rights on vaccines but Pharma giants have objected to it. EU has not supported the proposal and USA is indifferent. India was praised as it donated 66 million vaccines to 95 countries of the world before it was hit by the second wave. Secondly, every country to adopt a minimum corporate tax rate of 15% on Multinational companies (MNCs) and every country to have a right to tax the profits generated. Digital Companies to be provided tax relief.

The top 10 economies of the world as per the size of GDP are the United States, China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, India, France, Brazil, Italy, and Canada. Accordingly, the composition of Group 7 needs to be overhauled

Thirdly, a Debt Trap Relief package to be created to rescue economies like Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Nepal with an aim to free them from the tentacles of the People’s Republic of China trapped through one belt one road type projects and Fourthly, defend and promote democracy in the world and warning countries like China with hegemonic designs to lay off small countries like Taiwan, biodiversity of Green Earth and also pledged net zero emission by 2050. Sixthly, a special infrastructure development fund to be created as part of building back better initiatives for third world countries to finance the communication network project. PM Narendra Modi of India participated in an outreach session and virtually addressed the forum and advocated the mantra of “One Earth, One Health”. He highlighted that India although suffering itself but donated/ supplied 66 million vaccines to 97 countries around the world. He was praised by all the members of the forum.

Clash of Interests

One of the agendas of the 48th summit is to force Russia to immediately stop War on Ukraine by imposing tough economic sanctions. The G7 group is planning to ban Gold imports from Russia along with a cap on Oil and Gas. Russia earns maximum foreign exchange from Gold exports as it is the largest producer of Gold. This will lead to a clash of Interests as Russia and India friendship is time-tested. Although India always respects the sovereignty of all nations and favours Peaceful solutions to all disputes. India has advocated that Russia Ukraine Dispute is a bilateral matter and both should sit together and solve it without the interference of a third party. India will help Ukraine to rebuild again and rise once again. India has used the platform to interact with G7 nation heads on a bilateral basis along with observer countries.

The relevance of Group 7 is under the scanner. China has rejected the directions of Group seven stating that there are no human rights violations in Xinjiang against Uyghur Muslims, or suppression of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and claimed Taiwan to be part of the one-China policy. Russia has shown no interest to join Group Seven. The top 10 economies of the world as per the size of GDP are the United States, China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, India, France, Brazil, Italy, and Canada. Accordingly, the composition of Group 7 needs to be overhauled.

-The writer is an Indian Army veteran and a defence analyst. He has keen interest in Geo-strategic affairs and writes regularly on internal and external affairs issues related to India and neighbours. The views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda.

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