G20 Summit in New Delhi Nears Declaration Amidst Ukraine Conflict and Climate Discord

India expressed confidence in the Group of 20 major economies’ ability to finalize a declaration during this weekend’s summit in New Delhi, with only the phrasing concerning the Ukraine conflict remaining unresolved among negotiators who have grappled with discrepancies over the war and sought Russia and China’s cooperation to address global issues such as debt and climate change.

India’s G20 sherpa, Amitabh Kant, stated that the Leaders’ Declaration from New Delhi would represent the voice of developing countries, asserting its readiness without delving into specifics.

While four Indian government sources concurred that the remaining hurdle was language related to the Ukraine situation, hinting at the likelihood of an extended sherpa meeting to reach a consensus.

One source suggested that unanimity might not be achieved and contemplated the possibility of disparate paragraphs articulating varying countries’ stances or a single paragraph reflecting both agreement and dissent.

An EU diplomat commended India’s host role but noted Russia’s persistent resistance to an acceptable compromise for others. In preparation for the high-powered summit.

New Delhi was eerily quiet, with stringent security measures necessitating the closure of businesses, offices, and schools, along with the removal of slums and stray animals from the streets.

While the summit was poised to be Western-dominated, China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin were absent, with leaders like U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and French President Emmanuel Macron in attendance. The conflict in Ukraine had thwarted communique agreements during India’s G20 presidency, leaving the leaders to navigate a solution.

China expressed its willingness to collaborate for a positive summit outcome amidst reports of tensions, but Indian Finance Minister Rishi Sunak declined to dictate India’s position on the Ukraine war, emphasizing India’s commitment to international law and the UN Charter.

India, avoiding blame on Moscow, advocated for a diplomatic solution, and the Financial Times reported Sunak’s intention to urge India to “call out” Russia for its 2022 invasion.

India showcased its economic growth and geopolitical standing through the summit, characterized by a newly built venue and heightened security.

While more than 100 Tibetan refugees demanded discussion of China’s “occupation” of their country, experts cautioned that divisions over Ukraine could disrupt progress on issues like food security, debt, and climate cooperation. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen underscored ending the Ukraine conflict as crucial for global economic growth, a demand Western nations supported for a Delhi declaration, but India suggested the forum not engage in geopolitics while also highlighting disagreements on climate cooperation within the group.

As Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed, G20 leaders had the potential to address the escalating climate crisis that imperils the world.

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