India has once again proved the sceptics wrong and done so in style. They had confidently predicted that the 2023 G20 leaders summit would fail to issue a joint statement, indeed becoming the first such summit with such failure. They were right insofar as the world has become more bitterly polarised over the last year and the shadow of these deep divisions was indeed long over many of the G20 meetings. But where they underestimated India was how strong its network of relationships is today and its determination to marshall these to build a meaningful consensus. The G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration provides a pragmatic road map for how to continue imperative global cooperation when severe geopolitical discord threatens global wellbeing.
The declaration includes PM Modi’s words that today’s era must not be of war. Bringing the US and Russia to common ground on the language over the Ukraine war has been no mean feat. Being able to deliver this is an important piece of India’s image in the world growing with its G20 presidency. But there are also several others.
The edit below highlights the importance of India’s successful advocacy for the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent G20 member. Also of immense interest was India, US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy and the EU signing an MoU for a connective corridor from India to Europe via the Middle East. Analysts were quick to term this “the new spice route” because it is promising dramatically smoothened pathways for the flow of trade, technology and energy – plus a counter to China’s Belt and Road heft in global infrastructure.
But the ambitiousness of this corridor shall be matched by its difficulty levels. And no matter the enthusiastic endorsements by Joe Biden, Ursula von der Leyen etc details such as how it shall be financed are not yet known. In other words, big tests for the work of this summit shall continue well after its end. The feel-good consensus on climate issues shall have to be followed by concrete mobilisation of the trillions of dollars needed for developing countries to implement their nationally determined contributions. What this weekend categorically proved is that as countries navigate how to share responsibilities and rewards in today’s world, New Delhi’s voice of reason and clarity shall be invaluable.
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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