(L-R) Chinese president Xi Jinping (Photo by MIKHAIL TERESHCHENKO/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images) and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
BRITISH economist Jim O’Neill, who coined the acronym BRIC (now BRICS) denoting Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has said the recent G20 declaration could be the initial step in a stronger concerted effort to address global issues, asserting that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi now looks more like a “visionary statesman” than Chinese president Xi Jinping.
The New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration reached at the grouping’s summit in New Delhi last weekend has offered further confirmation that the G20 is the only body with the scope and legitimacy to offer truly global solutions to global problems, and neither the BRICS nor the G7 has the credibility or the capacity to tackle these challenges ranging from climate change to the war in Ukraine and economic stability among other matters, he said in a write-up on the ‘Project Syndicate’.
Noting that the lack of India-China solidarity will be a major stumbling block for the new BRICS, which admitted after its summit in South Africa last month six new members, O’Neill, 66, said Xi’s absence from the G20 summit has deepened the divide between the two countries.
China was represented at the summit by premier Li Qiang after Beijing confirmed the president’s absence though did not cite any reason officially.
Many speculate that Xi skipped the summit in order to snub India and Modi, he said, adding that whatever the motive, his decision had the effect of undermining the significance of the recent BRICS meeting, which many saw as a victory for China.
“If Xi wants to convince us otherwise, he will need to reach out to Modi. As matters stand, the success of the G20 meeting makes Modi the clear winner in this season of summitry. Perceptions matter, and right now he looks more like a visionary statesman than Xi does,” he said.
The G20 summit, which was held on September 9-10 here, achieved another subtle but important step by agreeing to expand its ranks to include the African Union, he said.
This breakthrough gives Modi a clear “diplomatic victory, allowing him to burnish his image as a champion of the Global South”, he added.
Those who played the biggest roles, presumably India and the US, in pushing through the final G20 communique should be applauded, he said, adding that its language might not have risen to the level Ukraine would prefer but it was robust enough to send a clear message to others who may want to violate internationally recognised borders.