India: G20 trapped by its divisions on war in Ukraine

The G20 foreign ministers gathered in New Delhi on Thursday. India both ally of Russia and partner of the West, did not manage to bring the two camps together.

by Carole Dieterich (Correspondence, New Delhi)

The unexpected interview between the American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and the Russian Minister of Russian Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of a meeting of the G20 diplomacy chiefs, will not have been enough to Save this meeting, organized in New Delhi on Thursday, March 2. For the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine, the two men exchanged alone. During this interview of barely a few minutes, the head of American diplomacy notably asked his interlocutor to end this war of assault “.

The war in Ukraine will have weighed on all G20 discussions without real sign of progress. For the second time in less than a week, the member states have failed to find a consensus and to sign a common press release, testifying to the irreconcilable fracture that crosses the group. China and Russia have opposed two paragraphs with the declaration of Bali (Indonesia) of November 2022 which condemned Moscow’s assault and notably called “to a complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Russian forces of Ukraine. The finance ministers, gathered on February 25 in Bangalore, had also not managed to overcome their differences on the issue.

India, which is both a historic ally of Russia and the West partner in the face of the growing influence of China in Indo-Pacific, this year assures the G20 presidency. For more than a year, New Delhi has been carrying out a perilous balancing play on the diplomatic scene. She has never explicitly condemned the assault of Russia, refraining from voting for any resolution in this sense to the United Nations, but the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, publicly told the Russian President Vladimir Putin that “the hour [was not] not in war “, on the sidelines of the Shanghai cooperation organization summit in September 2022. At the same time, India provides humanitarian support to Ukraine and Mr. Modi was maintained at Several times by phone with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

Voix in southern countries

As host of the G20, the southern Asian giant is in a delicate position. Throughout its presidency, which will end in September by the Summit of Heads of State, India will have to try to reconcile positions at the antipodes. At the opening of the meeting of foreign ministers Thursday, the Indian Prime Minister called on the participants to overcome their divisions. “While you meet in the country of Gandhi and the Buddha, I pray for you to inspire the civilizational ethos of India – to concentrate not on what divides us, but on what unites us”, he said in a video broadcast at the opening of the meeting, judging, in terms of the financial crisis, climate change or the war, which world governance had failed.

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/Media reports cited above.