The three-day B20 India Inception Meeting officially concluded at Gandhinagar, Gujarat on 24 January with a cultural flourish. Not only was it a platform for global economic deliberations, but it also provided an opportunity for delegates from around the globe to experience India’s traditions and rich cultural heritage, and learn about the nation and Gujarat State’s efforts towards sustainable development.
Policymakers, industry experts, and corporate leaders from around the world gathered at Gandhinagar to deliberate on some of the most pressing global issues, economic challenges, and industry priorities. During the meeting, discussions were held on topics such as climate action, sustainability, carbon emission, green energy, revitalizing innovation, redefining global digital cooperation, building resilient global value chains, and fostering financial inclusion to empower societies.
The Inception Meeting, organized by the B20 India Secretariat, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), was attended by over 700 delegates from more than 30 countries representing the G20 economies as well as guest countries. The delegates had the opportunity to experience art exhibitions, cultural performances, a yoga session, and excursions to historic and key landmarks in and around the State Capital, such as Dandi Kutir, Punit Van, GIFT City, and Adalaj Stepwell.
The delegates were welcomed at the airport with the beats of Katchi Folk Dance and Dangi Tribal Dance. Troupe performances were also organized including cultural dances and play of musical instruments such as Dhol, Shehnai and Mushak. The vibrant cultural program, hosted by the Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities Department of the Gujarat Government, was themed ‘Gujarat Gatha’, which roughly translates to ‘the tale of Gujarat’.
Dandi Kutir, India’s largest and only museum built on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, provided a vivid snapshot of the life of the Father of the Nation. Earlier, the delegates were welcomed at Mahatma Mandir with ‘Vandana’, showcasing rich heritage and marvelous architecture through dance movements. Several dances like Garbo, Dangi Tribal Dance and Mishra Raas were also performed to give the delegates a taste of Gujarat’s cultural diversity. During the tour of the museum, they learned about the different phases of Gandhi’s life journey, from early life, time in London and South Africa, return to India, and leading Satyagraha as the bandwagon of India’s freedom struggle. The museum echoed the powerful ideas and principles that Gandhi believed in; Truth, Non-Violence, Sarvodaya (uplift of all) and Satyagraha (adherence to truth). The day ended with a beautiful performance, an amalgamation of varied instruments like Tabla, Santoor and Sitar.
Next, they visited Punit Van, a beautiful garden that showcases the State’s rich biodiversity and traditional gardening techniques. On the last day of the Inception Meeting, a special guided Yoga Session was organized for the delegates. They were also taken on an Eco-tour, where they learned about traditional Indian Ayurveda medicines, variety of plants and the intricate designs of the garden.
The delegates then moved on to the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), an emerging global financial and IT services hub, a first of its kind in India. They witnessed first-hand the technological advancements, modern infrastructure, state-of-the-art facilities and the bustling energy of the financial district. They saw the city’s advanced Automated Waste Collection System, District Cooling System, Utility Tunnel, etc. and learned how the city was preserving its rich cultural heritage while embracing modernity and technological advancements in a sustainable manner.
Adalaj Stepwell (Adalaj Ni Vav)
Lastly, the group visited the Adalaj Stepwell (Adalaj Ni Vav), a unique architectural marvel that dates back to the 15th century. The stepwell is a multi-storey structure that was built to store and conserve water during the dry seasons. The delegates explored the intricate carvings and the beautiful symmetry of the stepwell, which showcases the skill and craftsmanship of the artisans of the time. They also learned about the cultural and historical significance of the stepwell and how it served as a community gathering place in ancient times.
The B20 India Inception Meeting provided an understanding on the challenges and opportunities facing the global economy and set the work priorities for B20 India.