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Carbis Bay declaration - G7 Summit

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June 15, 2021

Why in news?

The G-7 summit recently took place in the U.K., and the leaders jointly signed the Carbis Bay Declaration.

What are the highlights?

  • Vaccine - The G7 pledged over the next 12 months to secure a further one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses.
  • This will be either through donating surplus supplies or providing further finance to Covax.
  • [Covax is the UN-backed scheme charged with distributing vaccines to low- and middle-income countries.]
  • The G7 also committed to invest $12 trillion in the combined pandemic recovery plan.
  • It also pledged to reinforce global surveillance for potentially dangerous diseases.
  • Economy - The joint statement set out plans to reduce roadblocks to production in Africa.
  • On the controversial issue of enforced temporary waivers of patents, it said the leaders will support manufacturing in low income countries.
  • They would engage constructively on the issue of intellectual property waivers in discussions at the WTO.
  • The G7 also agreed to increase the special drawing rights (SDRs) in    IMF of low-income countries by $100bn.

What was the U.S.'s role?

  • United States’s new President Biden vowed that “America is back” to take the lead on global challenges.
  • The G-7 commitments on vaccines and pandemic recovery depends on U.S. commitments for a large part.
  • There was an invitation by the G7 to “fellow democracies” India, Australia, South Korea and South Africa.
  • There was also special communiqué on “Open Societies” for the G-7 outreach.
  • These are an extension of Biden's stated commitment to convening a Democracy Summit soon.

What is G7's stance on China?

  • Consensus amongst the seven-member countries on countering China was an important message from the meet.
  • The final G-7 communiqué holds no less than four direct references to China, each negative.
  • It includes criticising Beijing for its -
    1. rights record in Xinjiang and democratic freedoms in Hong Kong
    2. “non-market policies and practices”
    3. concerns over its actions in the China Seas
  • The G7 also underscored “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
  • Besides, there was a demand for a transparent investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 virus.
  • The G7 also vowed to cooperate with China on issues such as the climate.

What are the concerns?

  • The bonhomie among the G-7 leaders was obvious.
  • But the differences and contradictions in the grouping remain a challenge.
  • Even two decades ago, questions were raised about whether the grouping (earlier, the G-8), could claim to be the world’s “richest” countries.
  • This is especially true when emerging economies, China and India, are not included.
  • On economic issues, the EU is a more representative unit than the individual European G-7 member countries.
  • Finally, G-7 is much an exclusive club of the “haves” or “the best vs the rest.”
  • This seems anachronistic in a world that is much more interlinked now than in 1975, when the grouping first came about.
  • Given all this, G7 needs to be more open and less exclusive in an increasingly interlinked world.

Where does India stand?

  • India is a special guest to the G-7/G-8 since 2003.
  • It has maintained its independent course, especially on political issues.
  • At the recent meet, India voiced concerns about some clauses in the joint communiqué on Open Societies.
  • The communiqué condemned “rising authoritarianism”, net shutdowns, manipulation of information, and rights violations.
  • These are areas the Indian government has often been criticised for in the recent years.
  • However, India signed off on the joint statement by G-7 and guest countries on “open societies.”
  • The statement reaffirms and encourages the values of “freedom of expression, both online and offline".
  • In the present, India will be expected to walk the talk on its commitments at the G-7 outreach, especially in the areas of information clampdowns.
  • [Notably, India had the largest number of Internet shutdowns in 2020.]

 

Source: The Hindu, The Guardian

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