Indian prime minister Narendra Modi waves to media representatives during his visit to the International media centre, at the G20 summit venue, in New Delhi on September 10, 2023. (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi has urged international leaders to “embody humanitarianism over hostility” at a time when the world is facing a number of crises — including Russia’s war in Ukraine and Israel’s clash with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Middle East.
In a piece that he penned for the Indian Express newspaper on the occasion of the completion of a year of India’s G20 presidency, Modi wrote that “terrorism and the senseless killing of civilians are unacceptable, and we must address them with a policy of zero tolerance”.
Thursday (30) marked the final day in India’s G20 presidency that it had taken over from Indonesia in November last year and handed over to Brazil during the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi in September.
“Today marks 365 days since India assumed the G20 presidency. It is a moment to reflect, recommit, and rejuvenate the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — “One Earth, One Family, One Future”,” the prime minister wrote at the beginning of his article.
“Assuming the G20 chair, India sought to offer the world an alternative to the status quo, a shift from a GDP-centric to human-centric progress. India aimed to remind the world of what unites us, rather than what divides us,” Modi, who will seek his third straight mandate next year, wrote.
The Indian leader, who chaired the G20 leaders’ summit and took part in another virtual summit of the grouping’s leaders on November 22, reiterated what he had told Russian president Vladimir Putin last year: “This is not an era of war”.
“During our G20 presidency, India led deliberations on geopolitical issues and their impact on economic growth and development. Terrorism and the senseless killing of civilians are unacceptable, and we must address them with a policy of zero tolerance. We must embody humanitarianism over hostility and reiterate that this is not an era of war,” he said.
Modi had told Putin the words at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand in Uzbekistan in September 2022 in the context of the war in Ukraine. His government has sought a peaceful settlement of the ongoing crisis between Israel and Hamas even though Modi’s own backing of Israel at the beginning had triggered a controversy.
The leaders’ summit, which was not attended by Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, and many believed would fail to reach a consensus, managed to pull through a declaration that was unanimously accepted by all G20 members despite their differences on issues such as the Ukraine war.
“Inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive — these four words defined our approach as G20 president,” Modi wrote, adding that “the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (NDLD), unanimously adopted by all G20 members, is testimony to our commitment to deliver on these principles”.
“The New Delhi Declaration embodies a renewed spirit of collaboration across these key priorities, focusing on policy coherence, reliable trade, and ambitious climate action. It is a matter of pride that during our presidency, G20 achieved 87 outcomes and 118 adopted documents, a marked rise from the past,” Modi wrote.
He also referred to the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 at the New Delhi summit, saying “inclusivity has been at the heart of our presidency”.
“The first-of-its-kind ‘Voice of the Global South Summit’, convened by India in two editions, heralded a new dawn for multilateralism. India mainstreamed the Global South’s concerns in the international discourse and has ushered in an era where developing countries take their rightful place in shaping the global narrative,” Modi wrote, in relation to two Voice of Global South summits, organised virtually, first in January this year and the other earlier in November as mark of India’s efforts to focus on inclusion of developing world into multilateral order.
“As we hand over the G20 presidency to Brazil, we do so with the conviction that our collective steps for people, planet, peace, and prosperity, will resonate for years to come,” the prime minister concluded.