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G20 Summit kicks off in New Delhi today

by tbhdesk

The G20 Summit is all set to kick off in New Delhi today with the top leaders of world’s largest economies converging on the capital city of India to tackle pressing global issues amidst a divisive geopolitical climate due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to his social media platform to pledge that all the countries gathered for the meet would work collectively to ensure peace around the world.

“During the G20 Summit, I’ll be chairing sessions on ‘One Earth’, ‘One Family’ and ‘One Future’, covering a range of issues of prime concern to the world community. We’ll collectively work to further gender equality, women empowerment and ensure world peace,” he said.
The world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Argentine President Alberto Angel Fernandez arrived in New Delhi to participate in the G20 Summit.

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will be conspicuous by their absence.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is attending the summit as a special invitee of India.

The theme of this year’s two-day summit is “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”

India, which is the host country, has chosen this theme to reflect its commitment to sustainable development and global cooperation.

The summit agenda will focus on a number of key issues, including climate change and environmental protection, economic recovery and growth, food security and agricultural development, poverty eradication and inequality, peace and security and technology and innovation. The New Delhi summit have agreed to induct African Union comprised of 55 countries with a combined GDP of US$2.4 trillion into G20 with an announcement expected during the summit to be hosted by India for the first time, sources said.
The G20 is comprised of 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and the United States) and the European Union.

These members represent around 85 percent of the global GDP, over 75 percent of the global trade and about two-thirds of the world population.

The 18th G20 Sherpas are currently working hard to finalise the declaration that the Indian prime minister and leaders from G20 nations will adopt over the weekend.

Nonetheless, they are grappling with the formidable task of forging a consensus.

The top leaders will discuss for two days from today a range of issues like economy, environment, infrastructure and sustainable development.

Much of the focus has been on the divisions between the G7 developed countries and emerging economies over the text to refer to the Ukraine conflict. As a host, India has also had to grapple with divergences on issues such as debt restructuring, funding for green development and regulating cryptocurrency.

Saudi Arabia, China and Russia are among the countries which have pushed back against efforts to ramp up renewable energy capacity and reduce dependence on the use of fossil fuels while several European states have differed with the Indian side on a possible regulatory framework for cryptocurrency, the sources said.

Over the course of several ministerial meetings in the run-up to the Delhi summit, China has sought to stall efforts aimed at debt restructuring, rollout of Digital Public Infrastructure, women-led development and even the Indian theme of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one family) on the ground that Sanskrit is not one of the official languages of the United Nations, the people said.

Sources said Brazil and South Africa are helping India forge a consensus text on the Ukraine conflict as the Sherpas were engaged in frantic negotiations at Manesar on the outskirts of Delhi, seeking to firm up mutually acceptable formulations on the issue which has divided the group of 20 developed and emerging economies.

The Sherpa-level talks have gone past the deadline in what is seen both as an indicator of the tough task in getting Russia and China to agree to a draft that is acceptable to others as well.

A consensus on Ukraine eluded each ministerial-level meeting held under India’s presidency. While the member countries agreed on all issues, the differences proved unbridgeable on Ukraine. The divergence ensured that the deliberations could yield an “outcome document and chair’s summary”, reflecting the gaps in the footnote, as opposed to a communiqué showing agreement on all issues.

The source said several alternative formulations with regard to the Russia-Ukraine war were being explored.

The source said India was successful in getting the nod for the lifestyle for environment (LiFE), Digital Public Infrastructure and women-led development themes that New Delhi has pushed under its presidency.

A G20 summit without a consensus document is rare, if not unprecedented, but an agreement to grant the AU permanent membership of the group may help India more than just salvage the situation and reinforce India’s credential as the leader of the Global South.

Sources said even if G20 decides to admit AU as its member, the membership may only be formalised next year in Brazil where the next summit will be held. But an official announcement in “some form’’ about AU’s inclusion is expected in Delhi.

Russian Sherpa Svetlana Lukash has said efforts are on to mention the decision in the final declaration.

Apart from geopolitical tensions, the Delhi summit takes place at a time when global economic activity was slowing down at a faster rate than expected.

Besides, worldwide inflation rate was higher than seen for decades. After all, promoting global economic growth and development was the real reason for which the G20 was formed in 1999 in the backdrop of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 which had also spread to some other parts of the world.

While the Ukraine war and its impact on the global economy will be the political conversation at the summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s priority focus will be to use the gathering to focus on the Global South, as he has done since the beginning of New Delhi’s presidency, and put a priority tag on the 17 sustainable development goals.

While developed countries need to provide financial backing and technology to discourage the developing and least developed countries from using coal for power generation, Modi will push for change in global lifestyle or what he calls mission LiFE for protecting the environment.

On the margins of the summit, Modi will hold over 15 bilateral meetings with world leaders till tomorrow.

Official sources said he will hold bilateral meetings with US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday at his official residence. He will also hold a meeting with the leader of Mauritius. Today, he will hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of the UK, Japan, Germany and Italy apart from attending the G20 events.

Modi will hold a working lunch meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron tomorrow, the sources said.

Source: The Daily SUN.

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