Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd L) addresses the opening session of the G20 Leaders’ Summit at the Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on September 9, 2023.
Ludovic Marin | dpa | Getty Images
NEW DELHI — The Group of 20 nations overcame their differences over references to the war in Ukraine on Saturday, reaching consensus on a joint statement that paves the way for debt resolution frameworks and specific climate finance solutions to each country, among other commitments aimed at strengthening development in the countries of the South.
In an 83-paragraph joint communiqué aimed at deepening the integration of the needs of developing economies into the multilateral forum’s agenda, the Delhi Declaration omitted words from last year’s statement that openly condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine – instead highlighting the human suffering and other negative impacts of the war in Ukraine that have complicated recovery efforts in its aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The wording “most members strongly condemned the war” was among the changes. Instead, G20 member states agreed to build on the principles of the UN Charter on territorial integrity and oppose the use of force.
“A lot of time has been spent, especially in the last few days, on geopolitical issues, which were mainly focused on the war in Ukraine,” Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said. said on Saturday at a press conference following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initial announcement of consensus on a joint statement.
“Everyone helped, because everyone came together to reach consensus, but emerging markets have gotten a head start on this and many of us have a strong history of collaboration,” Jaishankar added.
This achievement highlights India’s diplomatic clout at a time when global alliances are evolving. With the heads of state of Russia and China conspicuously absent from this year’s leaders’ summit, Modi has been keen to position India as a key global player defending the interests of the South, while serving as an interlocutor with developed countries.
However, there was some fears Negotiators and diplomats in Delhi might have failed to reach consensus at this year’s meeting. Fierce Russian and Chinese objections to references to the ongoing war in Ukraine have hampered India’s efforts to foster consensus in key discussions during its year-long presidency.
Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, criticized the compromise in a Facebook post, saying the G20 joint statement was “nothing to be proud of.”
In the Delhi declaration, G20 leaders called for “full, timely and effective implementation” of the Black Sea Grain Agreement “to ensure immediate and unhindered deliveries of grain, food and fertilizers/inputs from the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
Russia unilaterally withdrew from the agreement – negotiated between Turkey, the United Nations, Ukraine and Russia in July 2022 – which helped ease the Kremlin’s naval blockade in the Black Sea and establish a humanitarian corridor for agricultural exports.
The agreement had facilitated the transport of 725,167 tonnes of wheat of the World Food Program in some of the most food insecure countries, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Food insecurity resulting from the ongoing Ukrainian crisis has added to the many challenges that have hit the world in recent years, complicating policy efforts to recover from the negative economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Years of cascading challenges and crises have reversed the gains of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals,” G20 leaders said in the Delhi Declaration, as they pledged to protect most vulnerable in the world by promoting equitable growth and strengthening macroeconomic and financial stability. .
To further consolidate this objective, India also encouraged admission of the African Union as the second regional grouping to become a full member of the G20 after the European Union.
Besides mitigating the geopolitical impact of food and energy security, the Delhi Declaration also called for accelerating climate action, providing more loans to developing countries from multilateral institutions and restructuring the global debt architecture as well as an international framework for cryptocurrencies.
The leaders of India, Brazil, South Africa and the United States met on the sidelines of the G20 summit. commit to “building on the historic progress of Indian G20 presidency to meet global challenges” in partnership with the World Bank in building “better, bigger and more efficient” multilateral development banks.
These commitments build on a G20 agreement to increase lending from multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Such measures could bring in up to $200 billion in additional funding over the next decade, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Saturday at the news conference explaining Delhi’s declaration.
These four countries represent the current and next three G20 member states expected to hold the rotating presidency of the multilateral forum founded in 1999 to tackle problems plaguing the global economy.
In the whirlwind of activities unrelated to the auspices of the main G20 summit, Modi and US President Joe Biden highlighted not only the deepening partnership between their two countries, but also their urgency and determination to persuade the world that they represent a more viable strategic proposition in the world. facilitate the development needs of countries in the South.
Biden and Modi second bilateral meeting in less than six months On the eve of the two-day summit of G20 leaders, a series of other agreements and announcements were launched – a stark contrast, in particular, to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s decision to stay away from that summit.
Modi and Biden were joined by the leaders of Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates to launch the Global Biofuels Alliancea partnership aimed at deploying greener fuels around the world that help achieve decarbonization goals.
The two leaders also announced a plan to develop a network of railway and maritime routes that will connect India, the European Union and Middle Eastern countries like Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in “a transformative regional investment“.
This aims not only to counter China’s influence in the energy-rich Middle East, but also to counter its Belt and Road global infrastructure initiative.
Biden also announced a partnership with the European Union in further expansion of the railway line develop the Lobito Corridor linking the southern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and northwestern Zambia to regional and global trade markets via the Lobito port in Angola.
“It’s a big deal, it’s a really big deal,” Biden said Saturday. “The world stands at an inflection point in history, a point where the decisions we make today affect the course of our future for decades to come.”