Differences on Ukraine but dialogue vital: G20

Differences on Ukraine but dialogue vital: G20

Updated: 2 months, 12 days, 8 hours, 47 minutes, 10 seconds ago

WHILE ADMITTING “different assessments” among members on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the G20’s Bali Declaration on Wednesday underlined the need to “uphold international law”, and said the “use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible”.

Calling for a peaceful resolution of conflicts, it said that “today’s era must not be of war”, echoing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a bilateral meeting on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand in September, where he said that “now is not the time for war”.

“This year, we have also witnessed the war in Ukraine further adversely impact the global economy. There was a discussion on the issue. We reiterated our national positions as expressed in other fora, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, which, in Resolution No. ES-11/1 dated 2 March 2022, as adopted by majority vote (141 votes for, 5 against, 35 abstentions, 12 absent) deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine,” said the G20 communique, adopted after days of negotiations between officials and a two-day leaders’ summit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meetings with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meetings with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. (PTI)

India had abstained at the UNSC resolution vote.

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy — constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks,” it said.

While India has not explicitly condemned the war in Ukraine, it has raised the issue of food, fuel and fertiliser shortage impacting the Global South – a community of the developing and the less-developed countries.

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Referring to Russian and Chinese views, which have had a different interpretation on the basis of NATO’s perceived expansion, it said: “There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognising that the G20 is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.”

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his UK counterpart

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his UK counterpart Rishi Sunak in Bali on Wednesday. (Reuters)

“It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. This includes defending all the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and adhering to international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and infrastructure in armed conflicts. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war,” it said.

This paragraph, Indian officials said, echoes India’s position since the beginning of the war: respect for UN charter, advocating diplomacy and dialogue, need for peace and stability, against the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, and the PM’s “now is not the time for war” statement.

“India played a key role in the successful negotiations of the outcome document,” said Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, adding that India’s approach was very “constructive, cooperative, and… consensus building” across the range of issues which were negotiated in the document.

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“Naturally, the outcome document was being negotiated in a particular global context and that global context did find mention in the outcome document as also during negotiations. There I would say that the Prime Minister’s message that this is not the era of war, and the best way is to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the conflict, resonated very deeply across all the delegations, helped bridge the gap across different parties and contributed to the successful outcome of the document,” he said.

An Indian government source said the Ukraine matter, as far as the G20 communique is concerned, was settled before the Indian presidency commences. A full-fledged leaders’ declaration has come out only because of India’s leadership of developing countries and emerging markets, the source said, adding that India helped in working out a consensus.

Sources said India’s suggestion that in view of deep divisions, the Ukraine matter should be settled through an inclusive paragraph, paved the way for the agreed language in the declaration after “five days of discussions”. India’s position on Russia-Ukraine at the UN fora has been totally preserved, the source said.

While Putin had opted out of the summit, his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who represented him, left a day before the declaration was released.

Meanwhile, Modi assured that India’s G20 presidency will be “inclusive, ambitious, decisive, and action-oriented”. While Indonesian President Joko Widodo handed the gavel to Modi on Wednesday, India will officially assume the presidency on December 1.

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In the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war and China’s aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region, Modi flagged concerns of peace and security in the world.

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