Deccan Chronicle

Modi is likely to address the G20 Foreign Ministers' meeting

Deccan Chronicle.| Sridhar Kumaraswami

Published on: March 1, 2023 | Updated on: March 1, 2023
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: The G-20 foreign ministers’ meeting is due to kick off with a "gala dinner" Wednesday night ahead of the main meeting on Thursday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the gathering. The two sessions on Thursday will be chaired by external affairs minister S. Jaishankar.

India on Wednesday, in response to media queries, said it was up to Russia and China to answer whether those two nations are no longer accepting references to Ukraine that they had agreed to in the G-20 Bali Summit Declaration in November last year. New Delhi signalled it would stand firm on the consensus adopted by all G-20 nations in Bali as far as references to the Ukraine conflict were concerned.

At a special MEA briefing, foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said while the Ukraine conflict will be an important point of discussion at the G-20 meeting, the challenges facing the Global South on food, fuel and fertiliser security will also be an "equally important" point of discussion. "You need to ask Russia and China whether they are no longer with the Bali Declaration," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at the briefing, in a response to a media query. The foreign secretary referred to India’s position that "dialogue and diplomacy is the way forward" to resolve the Ukraine conflict, while noting that India had contributed to reaching of a consensus at the Bali G-20 meet in November during Indonesia’s G-20 presidency.

All eyes are on whether a joint communique will be adopted at the end of the G-20 meeting on Thursday or whether India as G-20 president will issue a Chairman’s Summary and Outcome Document as happened after the G-20 finance ministers’ meeting in Bengaluru just last week when there was no consensus due to objections raised by Moscow and Beijing over certain references to Ukraine. It may be noted that the Western nations are expected to clash with Russia at the main G-20 foreign ministers’ meeting on Thursday, even as India is trying hard to keep the focus on the G-20 agenda, that includes the problems facing developing nations in food, fuel and fertiliser security.

The foreign secretary, meanwhile, said "given the developing situation", the Russia-Ukraine conflict will be an "important point of discussion at the meeting", adding that the "foreign ministers would focus on the ongoing situation between Russia and Ukraine". However, Mr Kwatra made it clear "it was equally important" to focus on the impact on the rest of the world, the understanding of the situation and the solutions to it.

On Thursday, the G-20 meeting will be held in two sessions. The first session is on "Strengthening Multilateralism and Need for Reforms, Food and Energy Security and Development Cooperation" while the second in the afternoon will be on "Counter-Terrorism: New and Emerging Threats, Global Skill Mapping and Talent Pool, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)". Mr Kwatra said all these issues will receive the complete focus of the foreign ministers.

The G-20 is an "intergovernmental forum of the world’s major developed and developing economies and comprises 19 countries -- Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, UK, USA -- and the European Union".

In addition, the foreign ministers of nine guest countries will also be participating. These guest countries are Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the UAE. There will also be representation from the ISA (International Solar Alliance), CDRI (Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure) and ADB (Asian Development Bank) as Guest IOs" (International Organisations). This will be "in addition to the regular IOs (UN, IMF, World Bank, WHO, WTO, ILO, FSB and OECD) and chairs of regional organizations -- African Union, AUDA-NEPAD (both Africa-related) and Asean.

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