India / India likely to raise terror, financial crimes at G20 summit in Osaka

The Hindu : Jun 22, 2019, 10:10 AM

India is likely to raise issues of terrorism, energy security and climate change financing, and call for stricter international laws on economic fugitives when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Osaka for the G20 summit of the world’s largest economies on June 28-29, said senior officials in New Delhi.

Indicating that the government might still be open to negotiation on the two major issues of e-commerce and data localisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Sherpa for the summit, former Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said that both policies, which have come in for severe attack from several western countries, were still being debated within the country.

“We have certain views on e-commerce and data localisation. Those issues are being debated and discussed at various forums within the country. As far as G20 is concerned, we will put forward our views as they are emanating from the discussion within the country,” Mr. Prabhu told journalists at a briefing on the summit agenda.

This year’s summit under Japanese Presidency has the theme of “Human centred future society” and will take up digital economy, artificial intelligence, global health, ageing and marine plastic waste as subjects of deliberation. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a speech on May 30, laid the agenda for the summit and highlighted the global nature of data as opposed to its localisation.

The Government of India is bracing for pressure on its data localisation guidelines at the G20 summit, given an outcry particularly from the United States and Japan on the Reserve Bank’s circular last year that stipulated that all “data relating to payment systems” must be “stored in a system only in India.”

In the May 30 speech, Mr. Abe announced that he would push for a “Data Free Flow with Trust,” or DFFT system. Making a veiled reference to the Indian plan of a “single closed-off room”, he said data localisation would result in “immeasurable losses”.

Diplomatic sources confirmed that the DFFT would be on the agenda to be adopted by the G20 nations.

Backlash from U.S.

India has also faced bilateral backlash from the U.S. on the guidelines. While the State Department denied reports on Thursday that it would link data localisation laws to curbing H1-B visas, U.S. officials have made it clear to New Delhi that they expect a change in the guidelines proposed by the RBI.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, who attended the trade ministers of G20 conference last week, also convened meetings of industry bodies, as well as had a meeting with the Finance and External Affairs Ministers this week and discussed India’s stand at G20.

Mr. Prabhu expressed the confidence that the trade deal impasse he had been negotiating with the U.S. for the past year, would be resolved soon given the “underlying strong sentiments” between the two countries.