New Delhi: Unsurprisingly, the G20 finance ministers wrapped up their meeting on Tuesday without any joint statement due to their ongoing differences over Russia and Ukraine.
On Tuesday, a two-day meeting of G20 members’ finance ministers and central bank governors ended without a final statement, but India issued a chair’s summary and outcome document.
He last time The joint statement was issued at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia in November 2022. India has, so far, issued nine Chairman’s Digests after G20 meetings instead of any joint statement.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting in Gandhinagar, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said there was no consensus “because we still do not have a common language about the Russia-Ukraine war”.
Similar to previous President’s Digests, there were two written disclaimers. One was China, which claimed that the G20 meeting was “not the right forum to discuss geopolitical issues.” The second was that Russia disassociated itself from three paragraphs of the document.
The first paragraph that Russia opposed had deplored the “Russian aggression in Ukraine” in the “strongest terms” and also called for the “complete and unconditional withdrawal” of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory. The subsequent paragraph asked to defend the UN charter, the peaceful resolution, and the line that “today’s era should not be one of war.” This was the message that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told the Russian President last year, and it has since been praised and inserted by the West in various documents.
India’s finance minister said the language describing the Ukraine war was taken directly from the declaration of last year’s G20 leaders’ summit in Indonesia. Stating that the ministers did not have the mandate to change that, he added that this was an issue the leaders will have to decide when they meet in the Indian capital in September.
The fifth paragraph of the chair’s summary addresses how to combat food insecurity, with G20 ministers noting that prices have fallen but there remains high potential for volatility in food and energy markets. He also welcomed the G20 report on the macroeconomic impacts of food and energy insecurity and its implications for the global economy.
At the press conference after the meeting, Sitharaman said food insecurity it was a key priority. “It is in that context today that several members condemned it, saying it shouldn’t have happened. Food going through the Black Sea should not have been stopped or suspended,” he told reporters. Russia announced on Monday that it was withdrawing from the agreement that allowed grain to be transported from Ukraine to parts of Africa via the Black Sea.
Ongoing divisions over the language on Ukraine make it likely that there will be no common statement from Delhi at the G20 summit.
In June this year, Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar noted that Russia and China had effectively withdrawn from the language agreed in Bali, making it difficult to reach a “common landing point” for a final G20 statement. it was a challenge.
“There are differences of opinion even on what was agreed in Bali last year. So how do we handle it? It is very difficult for me. I mean, you know, the diplomats are still working on it. So I don’t want to predict. In a way, I don’t want to give too much detail. I mean, I accept your point that it’s a challenge. But, you know, diplomacy is a business for optimistic people. So I think it’s something we would look at,” she said.
India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant had said in various interviews and briefings that Ukraine was not “our priority” at present. “We’ll discuss this towards the end, not right now.” said last week. Kant also reiterated India’s view that the G20 “is an economic forum, It is not a forum to discuss security issues.”.