African Union Joins G20 Alongside New Delhi’s Diplomatic Triumph over Ukraine Crisis

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The African Union was introduced as a permanent member of the Group of 20, leading world economies, in their latest annual summit held in New Delhi. The inclusion was unanimously supported, marking a significant victory for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continuous endeavours to amplify the voice of the Global South.

The host country, India, successfully pulled the divergent group together to ratify a concluding statement. It was a notable achievement, overcoming apprehensions about the possibility of the absence of a joint communique, an occurrence that would have tarnished the reputation of the G20. A softened approach about Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, a contentious topic of debate among the member nations, was the key to this breakthrough.

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In the preparatory phase of the summit, India endeavoured to form a consensus on Ukraine, but faced dissent from Russia and China regarding the use of phrases to which they’d given approval during the previous G20 summit in Bali. The final statement of this summit, disclosed a day prior to its formal completion, underscores the adverse impact and human suffering instigated by the war in Ukraine. It shirked any explicit reference to Russia’s invasion while invoking the U.N. charter to emphasize refraining from forceful territorial acquisitions against other states’ sovereignty and political autonomy. The mention of nuclear threats as inadmissible was also underlined.

In contrast, the Bali declaration condemned Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine under a U.N. resolution and expressed strong disapproval of the Ukrainian war from the majority of members.

Despite changes in the language about the war in Ukraine, the issuance of any joint statement referencing Ukraine or any statement with the collaboration of nations like the United States and its western allies along with China and Russia possessing contrasting stances on the Ukrainian war was hailed as a victory for New Delhi.

The success of India’s diplomatic prowess was recognized and applauded by the western delegations including the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The fact that Russia ultimately consented to the agreement that acknowledged the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine was reported to be significant.

The ratified text offered a “balanced view” of the situation according to the Russian negotiator, Svetlana Lukash, and was agreed upon after challenging discussions on the Ukraine-related part of the final statement. Western powers’ attempts to associate the Ukrainian conflict with the eruption of all the current world crises added complexity to the negotiation process for the joint statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his opening remarks highlighted the need to find “concrete solutions” to multifaceted challenges deriving from the global economic instability, the north and the south divide, differences between the east and the west, terrorism, cybersecurity, health, and water security.

His focus remained on addressing the exigencies of the developing world throughout the summit, even as the war in Ukraine inevitably overlay issues like food and energy security.

The G20 urged the resumption of grain, foodstuffs, and fertilizers shipments from Russia and Ukraine, necessary for feeding people in Africa and other developing regions. They expressed “deep concern” for the impact of conflicts on civilians and called for an end to assaults on infrastructure related to grain exports.

Concurrently, discussions covered important topics for developing countries such as alternative fuels like hydrogen, resource efficiency, food security, and developing a common framework for digital public infrastructure.

The participating countries consisting of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the European Union along with Spain as the solo permanent guest held fruitful dialogues on the sidelines of the global economic platform.

India welcomed participating attendees with resplendent decorations, engaged security measures of the highest kind and endeavoured to demonstrate impeccable hosting skills.

Critics urge the members of the G20 to openly discuss issues of gender discrimination, racism, and other barriers to equality, during these international platforms. It remains a vital concern to maintain global unity and not let conflicts, like the one in Ukraine, distract from addressing other pressing international issues.

While Russia’s President Vladmir Putin and China’s leader Xi Jinping couldn’t be present to engage in direct talks with their European and American counterparts, the global influencers continue to instigate significant conversation and change through this renowned forum.