G20 Summit: A Surprising Consensus

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The recently concluded G20 summit held in New Delhi exceeded expectations by reaching a consensus on a joint declaration by world leaders. However, this consensus did not come without compromises, particularly concerning the Ukraine conflict and climate change. In the weeks leading up to the summit, stark differences of opinion on the war in Ukraine threatened to derail the meeting. Western nations pushed for a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion, while Russia, in turn, vowed to block any resolution that did not align with its position. Let’s look at the important highlights from the global meeting. 

Global South’s Influence

The surprising consensus at the G20 summit was in part due to the influence of the Global South, a group of nations that played a crucial role in preventing the Ukraine conflict from overshadowing the summit’s agenda. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, India played a pivotal role in consolidating G20 members from the Global South. This ensured that the summit addressed a broader range of global issues beyond the Ukraine conflict. Wait, there’s more.

African Union Joins G20

One of the significant developments at the G20 summit was the inclusion of the African Union (AU) as the newest member of this influential group of leading economies. This expansion marked a momentous occasion as the G20 now represents 85 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hosted the summit, highlighted India’s commitment to giving a voice to the needs of the Global South. The AU, with its 55 member states, brings a collective GDP of $3 trillion and over 1.4 billion people to the G20 table. 

Are you wondering whether the G20 discussed the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war? Let’s find out. 

Differing Views on Ukraine

The issue of the Ukraine conflict remained a point of contention among G20 leaders. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, tensions have run deep, with Russian President Vladimir Putin choosing to skip the summit altogether to avoid political backlash. To prevent diplomatic embarrassment, India urged G20 members to agree on a statement that diluted previous condemnations of the war. While the G20 denounced the use of force for territorial gain, it refrained from directly naming Russia in its criticism. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed disappointment with the statement, stating that the G20 had nothing to be proud of in this regard.

Up next, the summit discussed the rising climate change and its challenges.

Climate Change Challenges

Despite mounting global concerns about climate change, G20 leaders failed to reach an agreement on phasing out fossil fuels. This failure comes on the heels of a United Nations report that emphasized the necessity of such action to achieve net-zero emissions. The G20 nations, responsible for approximately 80 percent of global emissions, now face criticism for their inability to commit to this critical step. However, the summit did see a commitment to tripling global renewable energy capacity and acknowledged the need to peak emissions before 2025, along with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Another significant development at the G20 summit was the announcement of ambitious plans to create a modern-day Spice Route connecting Europe, the Middle East, and India. 

Spice Routes and Israeli Normalization

This initiative, if realized, would involve the establishment of railways, ports, electricity, data networks, and hydrogen pipelines across the Middle East. It aims to counterbalance China’s extensive infrastructure investments and potentially increase trade between India and Europe by up to 40 percent. Additionally, these plans are being seen as a means to facilitate the normalization of relations between Israel and Gulf Arab states.

In a previous article, we talked about what’s in the name

India or Bharat?

In the lead-up to the G20 summit, India buzzed with speculation that the country might officially drop its English name. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted at this possibility during his opening address when he sat behind a nameplate labeled “Bharat,” an alternative name for India with deep Hindu religious significance. Both “India” and “Bharat” are official names for the country according to its constitution, but this move signals a potential shift toward embracing the latter name, rooted in ancient scripture and free from colonial associations.

That’s all about G20 Summit 2023 which was held in New Delhi on September 9-10.