The meeting, held during the Winter Session following the party's recent triumph in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, unfolded amidst anticipation surrounding the selection of chief ministers in these states
This week’s G20 summit in New Delhi poses a substantial diplomatic challenge for India as its presidency of the august forum representing the world’s most powerful nations draws to a close. Divisions over Russia’s war in Ukraine have deepened, casting a shadow over crucial global discussions on topics like food security, debt distress, and climate change.
One striking factor affecting the summit is the absence of two key leaders, Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia, the latter widely expected but the former a calculated snub. Their non-participation sends a signal that consensus on key issues may be hard to come by. China will be represented by Premier Li Qiang, while Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will fill in for Mr Putin. With these two major leaders not present, the summit may be dominated by Western perspectives and interests, leading to complex diplomatic dynamics.
An inconclusive summit could reveal the limits of cooperation between Western and non- Western powers, potentially causing countries to retreat to their preferred alliances. This scenario raises concerns as the world grapples with global challenges that require collective action. For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this summit bears significant diplomatic importance. Mr. Modi aims to bolster India’s position as an economic powerhouse and a leader in the global south. A satisfactory outcome would bolster India’s pursuit of an even more influential role on the global stage. One of the primary diplomatic hurdles India faces is finding a way to bridge the widening gap between Western nations and those with differing views on the Ukraine conflict.
The absence of a joint communique at the ministerial meetings leading up to the summit underscores the challenges in finding common ground. India has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which adds complexity to its role as the G20 host. The diplomatic tightrope India walks involves either convincing member nations to agree to a joint statement, known as the Leaders’ Declaration, or allowing the presidency to end without one a scenario that hasn’t occurred since 2008. Efforts to find consensus have proven arduous as positions have hardened since the last summit in Bali.
The Russian Foreign Minister has asserted that his country would block the final declaration unless it aligns with Moscow’s stance on Ukraine and other crises. Amid these challenges, India will hope for a last-minute breakthrough akin to Bali, even if it means jettisoning substance for vacuity.
However, such optimism must be tempered with the understanding that reaching a consensus on divi- sive issues remains an uphill battle. In summary, India’s diplomatic acumen will be put to the test in New Delhi and global schisms will appear more pronounced if a favourable outcome is not reached. Navigating divisions over Russia’s war in Ukraine and fostering cooperation on pressing global issues is no small feat. The world watches as India seeks to strike a balance between competing interests and foster unity among the world’s most influential nations.