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India: The New Consensus Builder

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Given the big divide and global mistrust, many naysayers had expected a fractured or no declaration at all, but India’s G20 Presidency came out with a Delhi Declaration adopted on day one of the leaders’ summit.

The script was carefully orchestrated by some creative diplomacy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose government has put a lot of political capital behind India’s G-20.

There were several drafts exchanged and required some deft handling working through the world leaders, their Sherpas and their capitals.

The US and the Western position on Ukraine got a good articulation, but Russia got a face-saver, too, with the omission of Russia from the Declaration. Many have called it a weaker statement than Bali on the Ukraine war, but the reality is that it was more calibrated and nuanced.

The language was weaker than that of last year’s G20 summit in Bali but demonstrated that India could persuade both the Western world and Russia and China to accept the Declaration.

The Chinese and Russian leaders gave it a miss, but the presence of US President Joe Biden and a strong affirmation of support by the US and its allies in the G20 helped build a consensus.

India’s call for an inclusive world found resonance and the Indian narrative to provide solutions for some of the biggest global challenges like economic inequality, and climate change found vibrancy.

The Delhi Summit led to some landmark decisions which will help shape a new world order. And this summit has already eliminated the China stamp, which some of the previous G20 summits had.

The African Union has been inducted as the new permanent member of G20, pushing forward a new world order and offering the developing nations a greater say in global decision-making.

The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, announced at the G20 Summit, is expected to stimulate economic development through enhanced connectivity and economic integration across the two continents, unlocking sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

It is also being seen as an alternative to China’s colossal Belt and Road Initiative project, which has left a host of developing countries in deep debt.

What is pivotal is that a group that was earlier known as a mere economic grouping, India’s G20 Presidency provided a new template by including terrorism, money laundering and cybercrimes in the agenda for the G20 to help tackle some of these problems.

The Global Biofuel Alliance was also launched to boost the use of cleaner fuels. It was affirmed that this alliance would accelerate global efforts to meet the net-zero emission targets by facilitating trade in biofuels derived from various sources, including plant and animal waste.

India’s G20 Presidency made it more inclusive showcasing the strength of a new India with its innovation, skills, tourism and economy to the nations of the G20. It will also strengthen India’s bid to be a permanent member in the UNSC which is expected to gain momentum Delhi Declaration has ushered into a new beginning, that of a global narrative that is made in India.

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