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Brazilian President lauds India’s G20 Presidency, says he was moved by visit to Rajghat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hands over the G20 Presidency to the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at Bharat Mandapam, in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi on Sunday (Images courtesy: PIB)

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Sunday lauded India’s efforts for voicing concerns of emerging countries during its ongoing G20 Presidency.

As he received the wooden gavel – that symbolises the temporary Presidency of the G20 – from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the concluding day of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi, Lula couldn’t help but recall the big role played by India as a leader of the Global South.

“Well, I want, first, to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the effective conduct of the Indian Presidency of the G20, and for the excellent work in preparing this Summit and for the affection that was given to all of us, the guests, during the days we spent here,” he said at the closing of the G20 Summit.

“I appreciate India’s efforts in giving voice to topics of interest to emerging countries. Therefore, I want to show solidarity here with our dear companion, representative of the African Union, who is now part of the G20,” the leader added.

In 2024, Brazil will host the G20 summit of heads of state and government for the first time, in Rio de Janeiro. The country has already organised a meeting at ministerial level in 2008, in Sao Paulo.

The Brazilian President also acknowledged that he got “very emotional” as he visited the iconic Rajghat in the Indian capital Sunday morning along with the leaders of G20 member nations to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi.

“And I want to say, President Modi, that I, personally, got very emotional while paying tribute to our dear Gandhi. Everyone knows that, in my political life, Mahatma Gandhi has a lot of meaning, because the fight for non-violence is an example that, for many decades, I followed when I was in the trade union movement,” said Lula who took over the reins of Latin America’s biggest country for an unprecedented third term in January this year.

“Therefore, I was moved and I want to thank you for the opportunity to pay tribute to Gandhi and I want to tell all of you that Brazil will take over the G20 and we will make a great effort to be able to do at least as much as our comrades from India did,” he promised.

Lula Brazil President
Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indonesia President Joko Widodo, French President Emmanuel Macron and the US President Joe Biden at Rajghat on Sunday

From December, the G20 agenda will be decided and implemented by the Brazilian government, with direct support from India, the last occupant of the Presidency, and South Africa, the country that will hold the mandate in 2025. The system is known as ‘troika’ and is one of the group’s differences in relation to other international organisations.

In his speech at Bharat Mandapam, Lula reaffirmed that the three priorities of the Brazilian Presidency, which begins on December 1, 2023 and ends on November 30, 2024, will be: combating hunger, poverty and inequality; the energy transition and sustainable development in its three dimensions (economic, social and environmental), in addition to the reform of the international governance system.

“If we want to make a difference, we have to put reducing inequalities at the center of the international agenda,” he mentioned.

All these priorities are contained in the motto of the Brazilian Presidency ‘Building a Just World and a Sustainable Planet’.

Brazil confirmed that it will create two task forces within the G20 to expand the fight against inequality throughout its presidency – the Global Alliance against Hunger and Poverty and the Global Mobilization against Change in the Climate.

“We need to redouble our efforts to achieve the goal of ending world hunger by 2030, otherwise we will be facing the biggest multilateral failure in recent years. Acting to combat climate change requires political will and determination from those in government, as well as resources”.

According to Lula, Brazil’s third priority would be seeking reform of the international governance system that is necessary to give developing countries better conditions to face inequality, hunger and climate change and seek a fairer future for their populations.

“We want greater participation of emerging countries in the decisions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The unsustainable external debt of the poorest countries needs to be addressed. The WTO must be revitalized and its dispute settlement system must return to functioning.

“To regain political strength, the UN Security Council needs to count on the presence of new developing countries among its permanent and non-permanent members,” he reinforced.

Lula also made it clear that the Brazilian Presidency will ensure that geopolitical issues do not hijack the discussion agenda of the various G20 bodies.

“We are not interested in a divided G20. Only with joint action can we face the challenges of our days. We need peace and cooperation instead of conflict. The path that will take us from New Delhi to Rio de Janeiro will require a lot of dedication and commitment from everyone,” asserted the Brazillian president.

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