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India and G20 – Concrete step of the Superpower

G20 leaders also agreed to pursue tripling renewable energy capacity globally by 2030 and agreed to phase-down unabated coal power.

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A man walks near flags ahead of G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, September 8, 2023. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

Lingering disagreements changed to achieving consensus on issues. That is what G20 in New Delhi achieved. And achieved it with shrewd diplomacy. It was indeed a great diplomatic accomplishment for India.

Apart from admitting the African Union as a permanent member (55 countries with a population of 1.4 billion)in G20 – a move to make the group have a true global representation – India, on its part, truly played the role of a charismatic leader of the Global South. Until now, only South Africa was a member of the G20. This is indeed a great step, considering the current global situation.

The most talked-about achievement was to produce a consensus document despite polar differences over the war in Ukraine. There was indeed a softening of the position compared to what the G20 took last year when Russia was condemned. In New Delhi, it was a different ballgame, with forcible grabbing of territory been agreed upon but there was no direct condemnation of Russia. India has played a ’picture perfect’ diplomacy since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began.

The fracturing of the G20 over the Ukraine conflict was mended by India with China, Russia and some western nations with a strong backing from Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia. Diplomatic sources in a few European countries told the Sri Lanka Guardian that India has showcased the perfect way to make the G20 countries agree to the text despite initial throwbacks and indications that some countries would not budge from their respective positions.

Despite Ukraine terming the G20 statement on Russia ‘nothing to proud of’, but no one can take away the fact that it, at least, created a consensus. Both Russia and Europe hailed India’s role in the declaration on Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, was quoted in an Indian newspaper saying,”I thank India for creating a foundation for democratisation of global relations.”

India has marketed itself as a perfect bridge between the Global South and the Global North during its presidency tenure of G20 and have focussed on issues like climate change, sustainable development, food security and inclusive economic growth.

The G20 Delhi Declaration has been a manifestation of the stupendous effort put up by India as an influential economic and diplomatic power in the world.  And, not to forget, this has also helped India showcase its diverse culture and its upcoming projects, which would lead to enhanced trade and foreign investments.

Apart from all those Indian government officials associated with the G20 summit, a big credit goes to the Chief Coordinator of the summit and former Indian Foreign Secretary, Mr HarshVardhan Shringla.

An indispensable role was played by India’s G20 Sherpa, Mr Amitabh Kant and his team.

The G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration has also called for strengthening global health. In the declaration, the G20 leaders said, “We remain committed to strengthening the global health architecture, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) at its core, and building more resilient, equitable, sustainable, and inclusive health systems to achieve Universal Health Coverage, implement one health approach, enhance pandemic preparedness and strengthen existing infectious diseases surveillance systems.”

G20 leaders also agreed to pursue tripling renewable energy capacity globally by 2030 and agreed to phase-down unabated coal power.

A diverse coalition, including the United States and Saudi Arabia, also unveiled plans of development of railways, ports, hydrogen pipelines, electricity and data networks.A project aims to increase India-Europe trade by linking rail and port facilities across the Middle East. These plans could also improve relations between Israel and Gulf Arab states.

The G20 billboards across the national capital bears testimony to the fact that the summit was a huge success, overcoming the challenges of the different governing styles and economic views of member countries.

Ayanjit Sen

Ayanjit Sen is our Special correspondent in New Delhi. He is an International Affairs expert, international-award winning senior journalist, consultant on Media Diplomacy and author. He has worked for over 24 years as a digital and television journalist with CNN (Delhi and Hongkong), BBC News (London and Delhi), ESPN, ABP, The Statesman, India Today Group & Times Now. Nearly half of his career, he has worked with international media organizations. He is currently working as a professor of media management in Bennett University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India (part of the Times of India Group). He has worked in several parts of the globe including Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, France, Pakistan, Bangladesh, UK and Afghanistan.

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