Consensus Amidst Divisions: Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies concluded the 2023 G20 summit in New Delhi, finding common ground despite deep divisions over the Ukraine conflict. They reached a consensus on key issues, including reforming institutions like the World Bank.
Softer Stance on Ukraine: While G20 nations acknowledged that states should not seize territory by force and expressed concern for the suffering of Ukrainians, they refrained from direct criticism of Russia for the war. This approach marked a departure from the previous year when the G20 had condemned Russia’s actions and demanded its withdrawal from Ukraine. Diplomats argued that this subtler approach was still a success, as it secured commitments from all members, including Russia, to refrain from territorial aggression.
Influence of Global South: Host India, along with Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa, played a pivotal role in preventing a G20 fracture over the Ukraine conflict. This underscores the growing influence of Global South developing nations within the group.
African Union’s Inclusion: The 55-member African Union (AU) officially became a permanent member of the G20, granting it equal status with the European Union. Previously, only South Africa was a G20 member from the African continent. This move aims to provide greater representation to the Global South within the G20, where the G7 nations have traditionally held significant sway. It followed the expansion of the BRICs, another influential group, to include nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran, potentially positioning it as an alternative to the G20.
Transport Corridor Project: Leaders from the United States, India, and Saudi Arabia, among others, announced plans to establish rail and port connections linking the Middle East to South Asia and eventually Europe. This initiative, described as a “real big deal” by U.S. President Joe Biden, aims to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative and promote Washington as an alternative partner for global infrastructure development. Specifics regarding financing and timelines were not disclosed.
Climate Change Commitments: The G20 leaders agreed to work toward tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030 and acknowledged the need to phase down unabated coal power. However, they fell short of setting ambitious climate goals and did not outline plans to amend existing policies to achieve renewable energy targets. The summit emphasized the requirement of $4 trillion annually for a green energy transition without presenting a clear pathway to achieve this financial goal. These decisions are closely watched in anticipation of the COP28 U.N. climate summit in the United Arab Emirates later this year.
Modi’s Diplomatic Triumph: For Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hosting the G20 summit served as a year-long opportunity to demonstrate India’s influence as a diplomatic and economic powerhouse. It aimed to attract investment and trade into the world’s most populous country. Additionally, it provided a platform for Modi to bolster his domestic image as he seeks a third term in office in upcoming elections. The successful outcome of the summit showcased India’s growing stature on the world stage.