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India’s G20 Presidency comes at a Difficult Time – IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

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India’s G20 Presidency comes at a Difficult Time - IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

Anil Trigunayat

For India all this has been a grave challenge while navigating the minefields of geo politics and securing her national interests and strategic autonomy. It is stuck as her strategic partners are at war. Her sane voice falls on deaf ears of geo political contestations.

Addressing the crucial meeting of the G20 Foreign Ministers today, Prime Minister Modi reminded them that as leading economies of the world, they also have a responsibility towards those who are not in the room.

“We all have our positions and perspectives on how geopolitical tensions should be resolved,  but urging them to work for common and concrete objectives,” the Prime Minister said. 

Indeed, this is India’s moment on the horizons of international landscape as it adroitly conducts the G20 Presidency inherited at a very difficult time . Russia-Ukraine war shows no signs of abating. Adverse economic impacts of the two black swan events in the form of the pandemic and the war have created an unprecedented challenge.

India as voice of underprivileged and underdeveloped

The super power and bloc politics is threatening to take the world to the nuclear holocaust while the global goods,commons and the welfare have been severely compromised and undermined . India has always been the voice of the underprivileged and underdeveloped especially the Global South which has bore the worst brunt of the geo politics and geo economics which have become a dangerous blend in the G20 proceedings.

It was evident during the recently held first ministerial of the Finance Ministers when a joint Communique could not be issued since the warring sides would not agree to the use of  word ‘WAR’ . Shakespeare once wrote ‘what is in a name’ -perhaps everything . Russia maintains that its invasion was special ops for specific objectives .Words can barely hide the form and intent of the intervention call it by any name.

On the other hand  the West’s missionary zeal to humiliate and defeat Russia on international platforms as well as on the battlefield continues  at the most fevered pitch. Ukrainians have become the fodder and battlefield of super power stupidity in this game and Zelensky loves the international attention as a pawn of some consequence. 

For India all this has been a grave challenge while navigating the minefields of geo politics and securing her national interests and strategic autonomy. It is stuck as her strategic partners are at war. Her sane voice falls on deaf ears of geo political contestations.

But, Prime Minister Modi’ s repeated pleas to Putin and Zelensky and his benefactors to desist from war and return to dialogue and Diplomacy and finally to Putin that ‘The Era of war is over’ provided some formulation in the Bali Declaration and was considered as the reference that the two sides could live with. New Delhi hopes that the Eurasian war and intransigent positions of Russia and the  West will not hijack India’s G20 presidency . In order to keep the channels of communication open and provide space for dialogue and Diplomacy India abstained yet again on the recent UNGA resolution asking Russia to end the war and vacate the occupied territories. 

India wants its presidency to become a watershed for G20 when some consensual important decisions with regard to new and emerging threats, countering terrorism,Extremism and radicalization, narcotics, global skill mapping and mobility ,a global health strategy ,digital transformation, and Disaster relief and HADR could be taken with inclusive and resilient growth , push for progress on SDGs , addressing the crippling unsustainable debt burdens for many countries , aim for green development where women could have primacy .Environment and Climate change fight is taking a back seat yet again and New Delhi wants to keep the focus with its dictum of Life for Environment.  

At this possibly the largest and most important meeting of the G20 Foreign Ministers (March 1-2)  which among the regular ones is being attended by 9 special invitees and India’s strategic friends apart from 13 international organisations. Among them Blinken of USA, Lavrov of Russia and Gang of China are here too who will test the diplomatic skills of the maverick Indian Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar. 

Being a host India has its own benefits, limitations and challenges and the mix of the same could enable the country with a reasonable compromise which could lead to addressing more pressing challenges facing the human kind. Let this not be G7 vs G2 and India as a referee must stop the fight before it gets even more bloodied. 

This article was first published in CNBC TV 18 as G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meet | As leading economies of the world, we also have a responsibility towards those who are not— PM Modi

Read more by the author: Year in Review: A Way Out of Ukraine War

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