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Onus on G20 leaders to bridge digital gap in the world, Modi talks inclusivity at Bali summit

Addressing a session on digital transformation, the PM said benefits would only be realised when digital access would be inclusive and its use widespread.

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New Delhi: It is the responsibility of G20 leaders to bridge the huge digital divide in the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during his address at the Bali summit on Wednesday.

Modi said India was making digital access public, “but at the international level, there is still a huge digital divide”. He said: “Citizens of most developing countries of the world do not have any kind of digital identity. Only 50 countries have digital payment systems.”

Addressing a session on digital transformation on the last day of the summit, the Prime Minister said the world would benefit only when “digital access is truly inclusive and its use is really widespread”.

“It is the responsibility of us G20 leaders to ensure that the benefits of digital transformation are not confined to a small part of the human race,” Modi added.

He said India’s experience in the last few years has shown that an inclusive digital architecture can bring about socio-economic transformation.

Modi said during its G20 presidency next year, India would jointly work with partners towards this objective. “The principle of ‘data for development’ will be an integral part of the overall theme of our Presidency ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’,” he said.

The Prime Minister had a packed day at the summit on Wednesday, including meetings with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said the meeting with Sunak provided an opportunity to review the wide-ranging India-UK partnership. The chat with Meloni reviewed the existing multi-sectoral partnership, he added.

Meanwhile, the G20 leaders’ declaration issued Wednesday reiterated Modi’s message to Vladimir Putin on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict – “Today’s era is not of war”.

Point 4 of the communique read: “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.”

At the closing ceremony of the summit Wednesday, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo handed over the G20 Presidency to India. India will officially assume THE G20 Presidency from 1 December.

At the closing session, Modi said: “It is a matter of pride for every Indian as India takes over the presidency of the G20. We will organise G20 meetings in different states and cities in India. Together, we will make G20 a catalyst for global change.”

The Prime Minister said: “India’s G20 presidency will be inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented. In the next one year, it will be our endeavour that G20 works as a global prime mover to give impetus to collective action.”

He also added that the priority would be on “women-led development”.

Also read: Hours after Sunak met PM Modi at G20, UK approves 3,000 work visas for Indians


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