The PM called for "restraint, dialogue and diplomacy" to tackle the situation
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday said participation of large number nations is a "very big message for the world" that the "Global South wants its autonomy" and voice to be heard in world affairs wherein it is ready to shoulder any responsibility. He also thanked these nations for reposing confidence repeatedly in
About 130 nations from Latin America/Caribbean, Asia, Africa and the Pacific region participated in the event, further cementing India's leadership position.
Addressing the second Voice of Global South Summit, Mr Modi announced a series of initiatives aimed at bolstering the prospects of the Global South (developing nations).
The initiatives include inauguration of Global South Centre for Excellence named "Dakshin" (Development and Knowledge Sharing Initiative), a proposal for launching a satellite dedicated to weather and climate monitoring , increase in scholarships provided by India to nations within the Global South and expansion of the 'Aarogya
Maitri' health initiative, aimed at supplying crucial medicines to developing nations in need.
The issue of debt burden on the developing nations was also discussed prominently at the summit.
Predictably, the West Asia crisis formed a prominent part of the deliberations.
In his inaugural remarks, Mr Modi condemned both the civilian casualties in the Israel-Hamas conflict and also the terror attack on Israel on October 7 (carried out by Palestinian militant group Hamas).
He called for "restraint, dialogue and diplomacy" to tackle the situation. In his remarks at the concluding session, he once again referred to the "serious situation" in West Asia which he said was impacting the entire Global South.
"For global prosperity, sabka saath, sabka vikas (together with all, development for all) is needed. But we all are seeing that new challenges are emerging from the incidents in West Asia," Modi said.
"India has condemned the horrific terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7. Along with restraint, we have also emphasised on dialogue and diplomacy. We strongly condemn the deaths of civilians in the conflict between Israel and Hamas," he said.
Mr Modi also referred to his recent phone conversation with President of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas last month. He said India had sent humanitarian assistance, including medicines and other
essential supplies, to Palestine.
The Prime Minister said India would continue its efforts to supply medicines and other essential supplies to the Global South, pointing out how India had sent medicines both to Palestine and neighbouring Nepal following the recent earthquake there.
The PM apprised the leaders attending the summit about the achievements of India's G-20 presidency that largely focused on addressing challenges facing the Global South or the developing nations.
Mr Modi described the Voice of Global South as the most unique platform for the changing the world of the 21st century.
"Our priority was to make the G-20 inclusive and human-centric on a global scale. Our effort was that the focus of G-20 should be development of the people, by the people and for the people," he said.
"It is with this objective that we organised the Voice of Global South Summit for the first time in January this year. In more than 200 G-20-related meetings held in different states of India, we gave prominence to the priorities of the Global South," he said.
"The result was that we were successful in getting everyone's consent on the issues of the Global South in the G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration," Modi said.
Mr Modi also talked about the African Union's entry into the G-20 as a permanent member at the New Delhi summit of the grouping.
"I cannot forget that historic moment, when the African Union was inducted into G20 as a permanent member with India's efforts," he said.
Talking about the scholarship programme, Mr Modi said the students of the Global South countries will get more opportunities for higher education in India, mentioning how India had launched its first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Tanzania.
Mr Modi also spoke about the Global South Young Diplomats' Forum as another initiative.
When asked if this was a reference to the financial debt many nations owe to China, foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said this was "not country-specific" but that "everyone knows what kind of credit causes debt", a veiled criticism of the Chinese model of giving loans to other nations leading to debt traps.
Mr Kwatra said later that the "broad sentiment" was that the Global South should look for Global South answers in a spirit of cooperation and not confrontation.
He said issues discussed at the Summit included climate action, inclusive and affordable energy transition, digital public infrastructure, reform of multilateral financial institutions and the UN Security Council, investment flows, women-led development and cooperation against terrorism.