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  India   All India  10 Sep 2023  With G20 Consensus, India Unites World

With G20 Consensus, India Unites World

THE ASIAN AGE. | SRIDHAR KUMARASWAMI
Published : Sep 10, 2023, 1:03 am IST
Updated : Sep 10, 2023, 1:03 am IST

India’s stand on Ukraine, today’s era must not be of war, prevails; African Union joins group

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant during a press conference at the G20 Summit, in New Delhi, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (PTI)
 External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant during a press conference at the G20 Summit, in New Delhi, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (PTI)

NEW DELHI: India stunned the world by pulling off a diplomatic coup on day one of the G20 Summit, achieving a near-impossible consensus in the G20 grouping on the Ukraine issue on Saturday. The Ukraine issue had polarised the grouping — with Western G7 nations on one hand and Russia and China on the other. Earlier in the day, the African Union (AU) was also accepted as a permanent member of the G20 on a proposal mooted earlier by India, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi representing India as the G20 chair bringing the gavel down thrice and announcing the same.

The New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration was “adopted unanimously with 100 per cent consensus across all countries without any footnote or Chair’s Summary”, G20 Sherpa of India Amitabh Kant announced at a media briefing.

Reportedly, this was achieved by removing the word “condemnation” of the war in Ukraine from last year’s G20 Bali Declaration. The move appears to have assuaged Russia, which had agreed to last year’s Bali Declaration but had since opposed any reference to Ukraine at G20 meetings. At the same time, the New Delhi Declaration mentioned the Ukraine conflict, stating that “all states must refrain from threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state”, to the satisfaction of the West.

“The 100 per cent consensus, involving eight geo-political paragraphs under the title ‘For the Planet, People, Peace and Prosperity’, demonstrated the Prime Minister’s ability as well as that of India to bring both developing nations and developed nations, including China and Russia on the same table,” Kant said.

The G20 Sherpa termed it the “most ambitious presidency” in the history of the G20 as the number of outcomes amount to 112, a 2.5x rise when compared to previous achievements, adding that the New Delhi Declaration has a “huge Indian narrative and footprint” on issues facing the Global South, including climate finance.

Modi also hailed the “”good news” of the consensus and announced adoption of the Declaration.

“We welcome the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 and strongly believe that inclusion of the African Union into the G20 will significantly contribute to addressing the global challenges of our time. We commend the efforts of all G20 members which paved the way for accession of the African Union as a permanent member during India’s Presidency of the G20. Africa plays an important role in the global economy,” the Declaration stated.

The New Delhi Declaration also decided on a green development pact for sustainable development and climate finance, where it was decided to pursue and encourage efforts to triple renewable energy capacity globally, in line with national circumstances by 2030.

The Declaration also decided on an action plan to accelerate progress on sustainable development goals, taking note of the voluntary action plan on doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030. It also recognised the importance of sustainable biofuels on low-emission goals and highlighted the need to set up a Global Biofuel Alliance.  

Speaking to a TV channel later, Kant said the final draft of the New Delhi Declaration was sent to all G20 nations late on Friday, making it clear that there would be no more changes regarding the wording on the Ukraine issue, warning that the deal would be dropped otherwise.

“I pulled in the weight of the Prime Minister. I told the G20 nations that if anyone has a problem, their leader can speak directly to the Prime Minister,” Kant said. There were “very tough, very ruthless negotiations, which went on for several days and I really feel that in the end, it happened because of the leadership of the Prime Minister,” Kant was quoted by media agencies.

“Regarding the war in Ukraine, while recalling the discussion in Bali, we reiterated our national positions and resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly and underscored that all states must act in a manner consistent with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter in its entirety. In line with the UN Charter, all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” the New Delhi Declaration stated, while reiterating the statement Prime Minister Narendra Modi that “Today’s era must not be one of war”.  

“Reaffirming that the G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation, and recognising that while the G20 is not the platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues, we acknowledge that these issues can have significant consequences for the global economy. We highlighted the human suffering and negative added impacts of the war in Ukraine with regard to global food and energy security, supply chains, macro-financial stability, inflation and growth, which has complicated the policy environment for countries, especially developing and least developed countries which are still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic disruption, which has derailed progress towards the SDGs. There were different views and assessments of the situation,” the statement read.

It may be noted that the Bali Declaration had mentioned the resolution of the UN General Assembly, which had deplored the Russian aggression against Ukraine and had demanded the unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine. "Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” the Bali Declaration read.

“We appreciate the efforts of Turkey and UN-brokered Istanbul agreements on promoting Russian food products and fertilisers to the world markets and the initiative on the safe transportation of grain and food product from Ukraine ports and call for their full, timely and effective implementation to ensure the immediate and unimpeded deliveries of grain, food products and fertilisers/inputs from the Russian Federation and Ukraine. In this context, emphasising the importance of sustaining food and energy security, we called for the cessation of military destruction or other attacks on relevant infrastructure,” the New Delhi Declaration said.

On the economic crisis of the Global South and debt-restructuring, it said, “We welcome the recent agreement between the Government of Zambia and the official creditor committee on debt treatment and look forward to a swift resolution. We welcome the formation of the official creditor committee for Ghana and look forward to an agreement on a debt treatment as soon as possible. We also call for a swift conclusion of the debt treatment for Ethiopia. Beyond the Common Framework, we welcome all efforts for timely resolution of the debt situation of Sri Lanka, including the formation of the official 22 Zero Draft creditor committee, and we call for the resolution as soon as possible.”

On Technological transformation, the G20 “welcomed the G20 Framework for Systems of Digital Public Infrastructure, a voluntary and suggested framework for the development, deployment and governance of DPI”.

On crypto currency, the Declaration said, “We continue to closely monitor the risks of the fast-paced developments in the crypto asset ecosystem. We endorse the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB’s) high-level recommendations for the regulation, supervision and oversight of crypto-assets activities and markets and of global stable coin arrangements.”

 

Tags: g20 summit, amitabh kant, new delhi leaders’ declaration