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G-20 development ministers’ meeting to be held in Varanasi: Jaishankar


VARANASI: Varanasi will host the G-20 development ministers’ meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar announced here on Saturday.

The minister, who was here to participate in the ongoing month-long “Kashi Tamal Sangamam”, interacted with students at the Banaras Hindu University.

“Kashi is one of the important venues for the G-20 meetings. And one of the meetings, the development ministers’ meeting, which I will chair, will be held here. So you are more likely to see me on the streets of Varanasi,” Jaishankar said in his address.

The Union minister said the government wants G-20 to be a national celebration and not any “sarkari (government)” programme.

The G-20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world’s major developed and developing economies. It comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US, and the European Union (EU).

India assumed the Presidency of the G-20 on December 1 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi making a strong pitch for “fundamental mindset shift” to shape a new paradigm of human-centric globalisation.

Jaishankar said India has become more dominant regionally. “There was an era when the world used to see India and Pakistan on equal terms. Today, nobody does that, not even Pakistanis,” he said, pointing out that India has emerged as a “primary power” in the region.

“SAARC is not active because one of its members believes dealing with neighbour is compatible with cross-border terrorism… There are countries which have never taken a clear stance on our problem, but asking us to take a stance on their problem,” he said.

Asserting that the overall influence of the West in the global order has declined, Jaishankar said, “We need to remain an independent power. The world will respect a country which stands up for itself.” The minister added that institutions, ideas and campaigns are coming out of India.

“When the world looks at the rise of India, for them the contribution and successes of the diaspora are part of the story of the rise of India. So, we too have a responsibility. If so many Indians live abroad, it is our duty to look after it (the diaspora),” the EAM said. The minister also visited the Kashi Tamil Sangamam Exhibition at the university during the programme. (PTI)

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