Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who opened the G20 summit in New Delhi today (Saturday) addressed the inaugural ceremony as the premier of “Bharat” as stated on the nameplate for his country.
This marks a significant indication of India’s possible official name change.
The intergovernmental forum, G20, which comprises a group of 20 nations including the European Union and representing 85% of the world’s GDP, commenced today with Modi as the host in India this year.
The development came after the distribution of summit dinner invitations in the name of the “President of Bharat”, sparking speculation about the abandonment of the country’s English name “India” in official use.
The Indian premier regularly uses the Sanskrit term “Bharat” to refer to India, which has its origins in ancient Hindu scriptures and is recognised as one of the country’s two official names according to its constitution — a shift hinting at a move towards embracing the country’s traditional nomenclature.
Members of his Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have previously campaigned against using the country’s better-known moniker, India, which is rooted in Western antiquity and was imposed during the British conquest.
His government has worked to remove any lingering symbols of British rule from the country’s urban landscape, political institutions and history books.
Earlier this week, reports regarding the Modi-led administration’s decision to rename India as “Bharat” began circulating. It was reported that a resolution in this regard is likely to be tabled in the country’s parliament soon, according to Indian media reports.
The proposal to rename India as “Bharat” may be tabled by the BJP-led government during the special session of the parliament, scheduled from September 18-22, according to India Today.
During the summit, the Indian premier said that the 20-member body has reached a consensus on the G20 leaders’ declaration and announced its adoption.
“Because of our team’s hard work, and with your support, there is a consensus on the New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit declaration,” he said, announcing the adoption of the declaration by banging a ceremonial gavel.
Details of the summit’s joint communique are yet to be released.
An Indian civil servant Amitabh Kant, a key organiser of the New Delhi summit, said that Saturday’s discussions proved this year was the most “ambitious” in the bloc’s history, as “Bharat” as “more than doubled the substantive work from previous presidencies”.