Diplomacy: Summit rescue project: India wants to prevent G20 debacle

Diplomacy: Summit rescue project: India wants to prevent G20 debacle

Failure is not an option for India’s Prime Minister Modi. This G20 summit must be a success – also for him with a view to the elections next year. But China and Russia are causing problems.

US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi want to avert a failure of the G20 summit in New Delhi against the backdrop of a Chinese-Russian alliance. Negotiators tried to find a compromise on the final declaration before the summit began today. The question is whether the paper condemns Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, but whether Beijing and Moscow still support it. If there is no joint declaration, the summit will probably be considered a failure.

“We are willing to compromise on many contentious issues so that we can agree on a text that everyone can live with,” Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on board Air Force One on the way to New Delhi.

The Indian Prime Minister received Biden in the capital New Delhi the evening before. The US government is trying to bind the world’s most populous country more closely to itself. The aim is to counter China’s desire for power. Modi and Biden agreed on closer cooperation and partnership.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is expected at the summit in the morning. From a German perspective, too, there is a lot at stake. The G20 is the central forum for international economic cooperation – and the only one in which the heads of state and government from all important industrialized and emerging countries meet regularly. A failure of the summit could accelerate the formation of camps around the world. East against West or G7 against the global South – that is something that, from Berlin’s perspective, must be avoided at all costs.

The war in Ukraine

For the summit host, the discussions about the war against Ukraine are particularly unpleasant. India had actually tried to leave the issue out of the equation to avoid controversy. However, the western G20 members do not want to accept this and are committed to ensuring that the war is condemned at the summit. Moscow, in turn, does not want to accept this and is getting support from Beijing. It is difficult to predict whether it will be possible to agree on a joint declaration, said EU Council President Charles Michel.

If the delegations do not agree on a compromise, the summit in Delhi could become the first of the G20 group without an official final declaration from the heads of state and government. That would be a debacle, especially for hosts India.

What does China want?

One question is why China is siding with Moscow on the issue of the Ukraine war. One possible explanation is that the government in Beijing is toying with the idea of ​​forcefully annexing the island republic of Taiwan at some point. It could then use international support like Moscow does now.

Another possible explanation is China’s competition with summit host India. According to diplomats, Beijing wants to prevent India from emerging as the new leading power of the global south at all costs. The announcement by China’s head of state Xi Jinping that he will be represented by his Prime Minister Li Qiang is also seen in this context.

(No) fight against climate change?

International climate policy is one of the victims of increasing geopolitical tensions. Delegation members admit that the lengthy and difficult discussions about the war in Ukraine are clearly at the expense of other issues. The negotiations must therefore fight to maintain previous goals. This involves, for example, reducing inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels and gradually phasing out climate-damaging electricity generation using coal.

According to diplomats, China and Saudi Arabia, among others, are on the brakes. Efforts by the EU to get the G20 to unite behind the goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 2026 at the latest are also considered difficult to implement.

Food crisis due to war in Ukraine is an urgent issue

World nutrition is also an important topic. After Russia’s withdrawal from the agreement to ship Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea, eyes are now turning to Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who represents Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin in New Delhi. The Russian wants to make it clear that Western punitive measures would have to be relaxed in order for the agreement to be reinstated.

Here, Moscow sees UN Secretary General António Guterres in particular as a mediator with a duty to urge the EU to ensure that Russia’s demands are met. In addition to Guterres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also arrived in New Delhi, so there could be movement on the issue. Erdogan mediates between Kyiv and Moscow.

Tailwind for reforms from the World Bank and IMF?

In view of the climate crisis, global food security and China’s efforts to gain more global influence, the USA, but also Germany, are pushing for reforms at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. In New Delhi, Biden wants to collect grants for the Development Bank, which lends money to poor countries on favorable terms to combat poverty. The USA is also promoting debt relief for poorer countries. This is aimed, among other things, at China.

Growth from Africa

Despite the problems, the G20 will soon be larger than before. EU Council President Michel says there is consensus on allowing the African Union to join. To date, the European Union is the only regional organization that is a member of the G20.

Source: Stern

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