During the G20 talks hosted by India, the contentious issue of the war in Ukraine dominated the discussions, creating deep divisions among the participating nations. India’s hopes of addressing critical issues affecting developing nations were undermined by the inability to reconcile the conflicting perspectives on Ukraine. S. Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, acknowledged the vast gap between the countries, stating that despite their attempts, a common ground could not be reached.
The G20, consisting of the world’s major economies and the European Union, holds significant influence over global economic and political affairs. However, the stark disagreements over Russia’s actions in Ukraine prevented the formulation of a joint statement, indicating the severity of the rift among the member states.
The meeting marked the first face-to-face encounter between the top US and Russian diplomats since the war in Ukraine began over a year ago. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed a firm message to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, reaffirming the West’s commitment to stand by Ukraine. He also urged Russia to rejoin the New Start nuclear arms control treaty and abide by its terms, signaling the US’s expectations.
The talks were marred by intense exchanges, with Russia accusing the West of employing blackmail and threats. Moscow officials denied engaging in negotiations, while also claiming that the West was obstructing Ukrainian grain exports. Amidst these tensions, Russian and Chinese officials purportedly agreed to oppose what they deemed Western blackmail and threats, though China has not confirmed this.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the G20, highlighted the risks posed to sustainable development due to global divisions. He pointed out that developing nations face challenges such as unsustainable debts, food and energy security concerns, and the disproportionate impact of global warming caused by wealthier countries.
- Sydney Quad Summit Cancelled as US President Joe Biden Withdraws: Implications for Regional Cooperation
While India aimed to prioritize issues like food security, development cooperation, terrorism, and humanitarian assistance, the prevailing geopolitical tensions and the Ukraine war overshadowed these topics. The strain between the United States and China, with the latter refusing to condemn Russia’s actions, posed an additional challenge for India’s efforts to foster consensus among the member states.
Although a joint statement could not be achieved, India succeeded in raising the voice of the Global South and managed to produce an outcome document on several issues. However, as the G20 summit approaches in September, India faces the task of maintaining its non-aligned stance on the war while advocating for collaboration among nations. Balancing these dynamics and achieving a consensus New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration will be crucial for the success of India’s G20 presidency.
India’s cautious approach regarding the war in Ukraine is influenced by factors such as its reliance on Russia as a major arms supplier and its population’s energy needs. While India refrains from directly criticizing Russia and has abstained from voting on UN resolutions condemning the war, it emphasizes the importance of the UN Charter, international law, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of states in its statements.
However, accommodating Ukraine’s request to address the G20 and having Russian President Vladimir Putin attend the summit poses a challenge for India. The success of India’s presidency will hinge on its ability to bridge the gap between opposing sides and facilitate the formulation of a consensus-driven New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration.
In conclusion, the G20 talks hosted by India have been significantly influenced by the Ukraine war, leading to heated exchanges and impeding the formation of a joint statement. Despite India’s efforts to address pressing global issues, the divisions among the member states over Ukraine have cast a shadow over the agenda. Achieving a consensus on critical matters and balancing conflicting interests will be vital for India’s G20 presidency and the overall success of the summit.