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Bharat replaces India at the G20 Leaders' Summit

Bharat's G20 presidency has become a symbol of togetherness within the country and for the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his opening remarks before the two-day meeting of G20 leaders got underway at Bharat Mandapam in the national capital

Bharat replaces India at the G20 Leaders Summit
First Published Sep 9, 2023, 11:00 AM IST

Bharat replaced India at the G20 Leaders' Summit at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi. The country name plaque placed before Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Bharat instead of India, thereby once again confirming the government's intention to extend the use of Bharat officially.

Bharat's G20 presidency has become a symbol of togetherness within the country and for the world, he said.

An invitation to a dinner sent by Indian President Droupadi Murmu to foreign leaders attending the G20 summit in New Delhi this week stirred controversy due to its reference to her as the "president of Bharat," the Sanskrit name for India.

The inclusion of "Bharat" in this diplomatic invitation has raised concerns that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist government intends to move away from using the country's official English name.

In addition to this, the government has scheduled a special five-day parliamentary session later this month to propose a resolution emphasizing the use of the name "Bharat."

The BJP argues that using "Bharat" instead of "India" will instil a stronger sense of national pride and reinforce the nation's rich cultural heritage.

Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, a member of Modi's cabinet, expressed support, stating, "This should have happened earlier. The President has given priority to 'Bharat.' This is the biggest statement to come out of the colonial mindset."

Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, criticized those opposing the use of "Bharat," saying, "When they go overseas, they criticize Bharat. When they are in India, they have an objection to the name of Bharat."

Recently, Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the BJP's ideological parent organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), urged Indians to stop using the name "India" and adopt "Bharat" instead.

"Our country is Bharat, and we will have to stop using the word 'India' and start using Bharat in all practical fields, only then will change happen. We will have to call our country Bharat and explain it to others as well," said the RSS chief.

However, opposition parties, united in a new alliance to challenge the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming parliamentary elections, argue that the BJP's proposal to phase out "India" is a mistake.

Shashi Tharoor, a senior leader of the main opposition Indian National Congress (INC), stated, "While there is no constitutional objection to calling India 'Bharat,' which is one of the country's two official names, I hope the government will not be so foolish as to completely dispense with 'India,' which has incalculable brand value built up over centuries."

He added, "We should continue to use both words rather than relinquish our claim to a name redolent of history, a name that is recognized around the world."

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