US President Joe Biden (L), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) and Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hold hands during the launch of the Global Biofuels Alliance at the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9, 2023. (Photo by EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIA’s strong leadership made it possible for G20 leaders to reach consensus in intense discussions on a summit message urging nations to shun use of force in territorial disputes, a senior European Union official said on Sunday (10).
For weeks before the New Delhi meeting, the bloc struggled to agree on a reference to the Ukraine conflict, with the West pressing for Moscow to be called out for its invasion, while Russia vowed to block any resolution not reflecting its views.
“(The) Indian presidency has been very strong and after intense negotiations, the unanimous outcome was quite productive,” said the official, who was aware of the G20 talks, but sought anonymity.
“Without India’s leadership it would not have been possible,” he added, referring to the summit declaration.
The declaration adopted by the Group of 20 on Saturday (9), when it began the two-day summit, avoided condemning Russia for the war in Ukraine but urged all states not to use force to grab territory.
The bloc’s leaders also called for implementation of the Black Sea initiative for the safe flow of grain, food and fertiliser from Ukraine and Russia.
The EU official, however, said there was not a single word on the Black Sea grain deal from Russia, which finds itself more isolated after the summit.
“Russia should have participated, with President Putin sitting down at the table and listening to the criticism from European and global leaders,” the official said, adding, “But he has chosen not to come and participate.”
The official said, “The European Union leadership made the points very strongly during the session. You have to build an international consensus around it,” in a reference to the Ukraine conflict.
India handed over the bloc presidency to Brazil, while both the US and Russia praised a consensus that did not condemn Moscow for the war in Ukraine but called on members to shun the use of force.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi asked the group’s leaders to hold a virtual meeting in November to review progress on policy suggestions and goals announced at the weekend.
“It is our responsibility to look at the suggestions that have been made to see how progress can be accelerated,” he said in a statement.
Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, the head of the Russian delegation, said the summit was a success for India as well as the Global South, the world’s developing countries.
The summit also admitted the African Union, which includes 55 member states, as a permanent member of the G20, underlining the bloc’s representation of the Global South.