G20 Ministerial Meets In India: Western Obduracy Is A Stumbling Block
Over the vexed Ukraine issue, India was recognized for helping reach a consensus at the G20 summit level. Since the FMCBG in Bengaluru could not agree on a joint communiqué, India issued a Chair’s summary for the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in New Delhi.
Every meeting of the G7 countries has featured a chorus of condemnation directed against Russia as if the Ukrainian conflict consists of the centre of gravity of all international problems.
Many Western nations promised to assist India with its G20 presidency. To succeed, the West should have tried to find constructive ways to bridge differences over Ukraine instead of insisting on its way. Russia’s self-condemnation is inconceivable as a basis for a G7 consensus.
It is not the first time Russians have violated international law and violated another UN member’s sovereignty and territorial integrity since 1945, no matter how one views it.
Invading sovereign countries and violating the UN Charter numerous times based on human rights, democracy promotion, and terrorism are all accusations against Russia by some of those accusing her.
Most of these actions have been done without UN approval and without directly endangering their security.
While they resist admitting it, the G7 countries resist accepting that others measure their arguments against Russia against their past and present conduct.
The international community cannot impose sanctions on Russia without UN approval. Since these countries are significant suppliers around the world, their wars disrupt food, fuel, and fertilizer supply chains as well.
It is a gloss-over by EU foreign and security policy chief Borrell, who argued again on the eve of the G 20 FM meeting in New Delhi that Russia is lying about the role it plays in food and fertilizer shortages, that the EU is denying Russian carriers access to its ports and Western companies insurance coverage, and diverting grain that was sent out with UNSG intervention to some EU countries for alleged animal feeding.
Leaders noted in Europe that Borrell and others were credited with cutting off all energy and economic ties with Russia.
An attempt to breach the largest and most powerful neighbour of the EU, which has centuries of ties to Europe relating to politics, security, culture and intellectual inquiry, suggests a failure of strategy.
The destruction of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines and the complete lack of investigations into what amounts to a terrorist attack on civilian infrastructure is ridiculous.
A declining multilateralism is a significant concern for the international community. The UN’s 75th anniversary UNGA session was devoted to reviving multilateralism, which is necessary for the present interdependent international system to work.
Because of great powers’ rivalries and veto power, the UN Security Council cannot function. If members of the G20 lacked veto power and were properly distributed regionally, the G20 could forge a consensus on economic growth and financial stability.
Even those issues the members can agree on can be blocked by bringing security issues into the discussion. Is the UN Security Council experiencing a similar situation?
The G20 should issue a joint communiqué on all issues it agrees on, as 95 per cent of the text was agreed on by its Foreign Ministers at the G20 meeting. From the Leaders’ Declaration at Bali, India cited paras 3 and 4, which Russia and China opposed.
In this formulation, the other 18 members, including India, oppose the positions of Russia and China. The Chair could issue a summary of discussions which sets forth the viewpoints of both sides on the text on which no agreement has been reached, such as in Ukraine.
Continuing to hold the rest of the text hostage to the G7’s demands will weaken the G20 as it becomes less relevant. It was created so that the G7 could not correctly address global economic growth and financial issues independently and could develop policy options with greater participation and coordination.
As the G7 commits to support Ukraine for as long as necessary, Russia consolidates its ground positions, and a renewed military offensive may be possible in spring.
It seems more about escalation than dialogue. The G7 is concerned about China providing lethal weapons to Russia, and the US and EU threaten Beijing with punitive sanctions if the supply occurs.
If Russia gains ground between now and September, the likelihood of tensions easing over Ukraine is significantly reduced, primarily if the G20 summit occurs in September.
In this regard, the prospects for G20 summit-level communiqués look bleak. The G20 may end as a political forum if they do not issue one at the summit. Increasing its national profile has raised India’s stake in the G20.
Furthermore, it represents the Global South at G20 discussions, which raises its international profile. In addition to consensus, multiple multilateral, plurilateral, and bilateral platforms are involved, and there is much work to do before we can make any progress.
In the aftermath of India’s decision to include a paragraph on Ukraine in the Quad Foreign Ministers’ declaration, only time will tell how India’s action will affect its ability to forge consensus at the G20 summit.
Edited by Prakriti Arora