Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, US president Joe Biden (to hos right), Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva (to Modi’s left), World Bank president Ajay Banga (third from left) and other dignitaries during the G20 Leaders’ Summit, at the Bharat Mandapam, Pragati Maidan, in New Delhi on Saturday, September 9, 2023. (ANI Photo)
THE 18th summit of the G20 grouping in New Delhi came to an end on Sunday (10) and it was considered to be a successful event despite early apprehensions over a consensus on the Ukraine war. It also saw some key developments such as formation of a biofuels alliance, admission of the African Union (AU) as a permanent member and the coming together of the US, Saudi Arabia and India for a transport corridor.
Here are some top takeaways from the G20 summit 2023 held in India:
Language going soft on Ukraine war
The G20 nations agreed that states cannot grab territory by force and highlighted the people of Ukraine are suffering due to the war but it did not directly criticise Russia for the war. For experts, it was seen as a softening from the position that the grouping had taken last year when it condemned Moscow for the war and sought its withdrawal from the east European nation.
According to a Reuters report, diplomats said the Kremlin would never have accepted its outright condemnation and yet the stance on Ukraine was successful as everyone, including Moscow, committed themselves to not forcefully taking anybody’s territory. Officials also said that apart from host India, countries such as Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia played a key role to ensure that the G20 was not left divided over the Ukraine war.
Adopting Delhi Declaration:
This was a major achievement at the G20 leaders’ summit as apprehensions were galore over the countries failing to reach a consensus over the Ukraine question and due to the absence of the top leaders of Russia and China at the event.
Yet, relentless negotiations saw the member-states agreeing with each other and the G20 adopted the New Delhi Leaders Summit Declaration. Asserting that “today’s era must not be of war”, the declaration on Saturday urged all states to uphold the principles of international law, including territorial integrity and sovereignty, asserting that peaceful resolution of conflicts as well as diplomacy and dialogue are key.
Admission of AU as permanent member
The 55-member AU formally became a permanent member of the G20 at the Delhi summit, on par with the European Union, which made the bloc more inclusive and gave the developing nations a bigger say in global decision-making.
Till now, only South Africa from the African continent was a member of the G20. The move also came after the BRICS, a group dominated by China and Russia, was expanded to include countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran among others, was seen as an attempt by Beijing to make it a possible alternative to the G20.
In a significant development at the summit, leaders of the US, India and Saudi Arabia and others announced plans to set up rail and port links between the Middle East and South Asia and eventually to Europe. US president Joe Biden called it a “real big deal” as experts see it as a push to counter China’s Belt & Road Initiative plan on global infrastructure. However, there were no details yet over the financing or time frame for the project that involved laying down railway lines in the Middle East and then connecting them to India with help of ports.
UK’s commitment to Green Climate Fund
British prime minister Rishi Sunak said on the concluding day of the summit that London will commit to give $2 billion to Green Climate Fund (GCF) to aid the developing nations cope with the challenge of climate change.
The GFC, which is the world’s largest such fund, was formed under the United Nations’s climate change negotiations to channelise money required by poor countries to meet their targets on reducing carbon emissions, developing cleaner energy sources and adjusting a world which is getting hotter.
Among other developments related to climate change were agreements by the G20 leaders to pursue increasing the renewable energy capacity across the planet by three-fold by 2030 and the importance of phasing down unabated coal power. However, no major climate goals were set.
Global Biofuels Alliance
Prime minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA) in a major development at the G20 summit on Saturday (9). Nineteen nations and 12 international organisations including both G20 members and non-members, agreed to take part in the alliance. Among the founding members are India, the US and Brazil, who took over the baton of the G20’s presidency from India on Sunday.
The Indian external affairs ministry said in a statement. “The alliance intends to expedite the global uptake of biofuels through facilitating technology advancements, intensifying utilization of sustainable biofuels, shaping robust standard setting and certification through the participation of a wide spectrum of stakeholders.
The alliance will also act as a central repository of knowledge and an expert hub. GBA aims to serve as a catalytic platform, fostering global collaboration for the advancement and widespread adoption of biofuels.”
The moment for India & Modi
The G20 summit in New Delhi marked a massive moment in the foreign policy of India and more particularly, in the foreign policy of Modi. It had served a year-long opportunity to the south Asian nation to showcase its diplomatic and economic clout before the world and lure investment and trade inflows by confirming itself as a destination for the future.
While Modi showcased India as a potential alternative to China before the international business fraternity, he also boosted his own standing at home ahead of next year’s general elections that he aim to win to clinch his third consecutive mandate. His supporters are already propagating the viewpoint that with the successful staging of the G20, India’s moment has arrived.