Proposed Expansion of G7
- The G7 or ‘Group of Seven’ consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- It is an intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 1975 as an informal forum to discuss pressing world issues.
- Initially, it focussed on economic issues but later it focussed on the several challenges such as the oil crashes of the 1970s, terrorism, arms control, and drug trafficking, etc.
- The group does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters. The decisions taken by leaders during annual summits are non-binding.
- The G7 nations meet at annual summits that are presided over by leaders of member countries on a rotational basis.
Expansion of G7:
- The proposed expansion has suggested inclusion of India, Australia, South Korea and Russia in the grouping of the largest advanced economies.
- The existing G7 group has been called an outdated group of countries as it does not include emerging economies of the world and thus it is believed that the group does not follow the current world order.
- It is unclear that the proposed expansion will be permanent or temporary.
Re-inclusion of Russia:
- The proposal to re-admit Russia is expected to receive strong reactions from other G7 member countries.
- Russia is seen as an ally of China.
- The G7 was known as the ‘G8’ for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997.
- The Group returned to being called G7 after Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
- India at the G7 Summit:
- India had attended the G7 summit of 2019 at Biarritz in France as a special guest of French President.
- India has attended the G8 five times as special guests by various hosts of the G8 Summit in the past.
- Attempt to Unite Allies Against China:
- China is not a member of G7 despite being the world’s biggest population and second-biggest economy. But, China has relatively low levels of wealth per head of population. Thus it is not considered as an advanced economy like other G7 members.
- The expansion of G7 has been believed to be a plan to unite all traditional allies to deal with assertive diplomacy of China.
- The proposal comes amid ongoing issues between the US and China which includes Hong Kong’s autonomy to Taiwan, the origins of Covid-19, South China Sea tensions and trade issues.
G7 Vs G20
- Members: The G20 is a larger group of countries, which also includes G7 members.
- Apart from the G7 countries, the G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.
- Share in Global Economy: The G20 countries make up around 80% of the world’s economy. G7’s share in global GDP has fallen to around 40%.
- Range of Issues: As opposed to the G7, the G20 discusses a broad range of issues including those concerning the global economy and financial markets.
- The rise of India, China, and Brazil over the past few decades has reduced the G7’s relevance. Thus, the inclusion of emerging economies like India, South Korea, etc. may extend the support to establish equal levels for each country at the global level.
- The proposed expansion may also help G7 to be a more representative institution than current G7 and subsequently to establish an equal platform at the global level.