February 27, 2024

Y20 India: A Journey of Democracy, Diplomacy and Diversity

The Y20 India Summit 2023 stands as a testament to the power of youth diplomacy and the importance of global collaboration.
Keywords: G20, Y20, Youth, Summit, Democracy, Inclusive, Diplomacy, Diversity, New Delhi Declaration, Modi, Innovation, Industry
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Every Indian is very well acquainted with the famous photo of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi accepting the Gavel and Presidency of the G20 at the Bali Leaders Summit. Thus began India’s journey towards a presidency that has managed to bring twenty nations to consensus on contentious issues, that had previously resulted in nations pulling their support from the Bali Leaders Declaration. 

So how did the Mother of Democracy plan to bridge a fragmented world? The answer came through Shri Narendra Modi Ji’s clarion call of Jan Bhagidaari or People’s Participation within the G20. The mandate was clear; these meetings, summits and events would not be held within the closed confines of Lutyens Delhi, the entire nation would celebrate this as a festival, and show the world what it means to be the largest democracy in the world.

Come December, the formation of engagement groups and appointment office bearers had started. Like every young Indian, I was ecstatic on the prospect of contributing however I could to the Indian Presidency. 

The first rays of dawn painted the sky as an email notification broke the morning silence. An appointment by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Y20 Secretariat. The title read: Track Chair for “Future of Work: Industry 4.0, Innovation and 21st Century Skills.” As the sun climbed higher, so did my anticipation. The challenge was clear: to bring a fresh perspective to the Y20 India Summit, echoing the Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji’s vision of “Jan Bhagidaari”.

The First Steps

Leh, the land of high passes, with its cold winds and serene mountains beckoned to us as we began the first pre-summit there. Stepping into the conference room was like entering a global mosaic. Twenty nations, each with its unique voice, awaited direction. The task was monumental: to find harmony amidst diversity, to build consensus, and to lead transformative discussions. 

As we took our seats around the table, we realised that every interaction, from formal Y20 Talks to intimate Chaupals, was a step towards crafting an inclusive global future.

We had laid the foundation for what would result in a dynamic communique. 

We finally arrived in Varanasi for the final summit, to put forth what the global youth envisioned its future to be. We soon realised that it would not  be an easy task to achieve a global consensus. Back in the bustling heart of the summit, the clock became our adversary. 

A gruelling 31-hour negotiation marathon showcased the indomitable spirit of youth. What began as the final negotiation session, ran way past midnight all the way up to afternoon the next day. The process of drafting and finalising the Y20 Communiqué was a testament to the spirit of collaboration and diplomacy. During the summit, the Communiqué was discussed, negotiated, and eventually signed with unanimous consent. This meant that every participating country’s delegation agreed upon the content and recommendations of the document, showcasing a common vision for the future.

Crafting the Future

Our track’s discussions mirrored the larger summit’s spirit. We envisioned a world where internet access was a basic right, where the global workforce was empowered and prepared for challenges, and where startups thrived with sustainable support. The moment of elation arrived when, hours ahead of other tracks, we reached a unanimous agreement. It wasn’t just a personal triumph but a testament to the power of collaboration.

The G20 Summit: A Beacon of Global Collaboration

As the days progressed, the larger G20 Summit echoed with successes. Leaders from the world’s major economies congregated, deliberating on pressing global issues. The atmosphere was electric, a testament to the collective will to foster global collaboration. The summit wasn’t just about economic policies; it was a celebration of shared goals, mutual respect, and the promise of a better future.

The New Delhi Leaders Declaration: A Pledge for Tomorrow

Among the summit’s crowning achievements was the New Delhi Leaders Declaration. This document, a culmination of intense discussions and collaborations, was a pledge for the future. It encapsulated the collective vision of the G20 nations, addressing global challenges with actionable solutions. For many, including myself, the declaration is more than just a document; it is a beacon of hope, signaling a united front in the face of adversity.

Through the Looking Glass

The Y20 India Summit 2023 stands as a testament to the power of youth diplomacy and the importance of global collaboration. The successful conclusion of the summit, marked by the signing of the Y20 Communiqué, reflects the collective aspirations of the youth and their commitment to shaping a better future. The summit not only provided a platform for dialogue but also celebrated the diversity and richness of cultures, fostering mutual respect and understanding among the delegates.

As I pen down this reflection, the memories of the Y20 engagement come alive. It was a symphony of voices, a dance of diplomacy, and a journey of discovery. The success of India’s G20 Presidency and the New Delhi Leaders Declaration are not just milestones but reminders of what we can achieve when we come together. And as you, dear reader, embark on this journey, I hope you feel the passion, the challenges, and the triumphs that marked this unforgettable experience.

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Devansh Shah

Devansh Shah is a young professional working as a Policy Consultant to the Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications, Government of India. He is also a member of the National PRT Team, BJYM. Young India Foundation also featured him on their 25 under 25, young Indians working in Politics and Policy List.

He is the Y20 India Track Chair for Future of Work which includes the Industry 4.0, Innovation & 21st Century Skills. He has been primarily responsible for contributing to the white paper, Chairing the Pre-Summit and Summit of Y20 India, and responsible for ensuring that the track came to a consensus and delivered a Communique.

Devansh Shah is a management graduate with specialization in Finance & International Business. He also holds post graduate diploma in leadership, politics & governance from IIDL, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini. He holds two world records to his accolades for world's largest Menstruation Awareness Campaign & Model United Nation. Third world record for his family Initiative in environment protection.

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