The G20 leaders on September 9, 2023, reached a consensus on a declaration, which refrained from condemning Russia for its “special military operations” in Ukraine but took note of the negative impact of the war on the economy as well as food, energy and security around the world. The declaration also called all the states to uphold the principles of international law including territorial integrity and sovereignty, stating “today’s era must not be of war”. The use of threat or the use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible, it added.
The breakthrough in the negotiation over the ‘Delhi Declaration’ came when New Delhi succeeded in persuading the United States and the rest of the West to agree on a draft text that did not criticise Russia…
The uncertainty over the outcome document ended even before the first day of the 18th G20 summit concluded. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was chairing the conclave, announced that the premier forum for international economic cooperation had reached a consensus on the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration. He then went on to announce its adoption as the other G20 leaders thumped their desks. The big development was welcomed by several leaders and officials, who said the “historic” document recognises Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on human-centric globalisation- Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
The breakthrough in the negotiation over the ‘Delhi Declaration’ came when New Delhi succeeded in persuading the United States and the rest of the West to agree on a draft text that did not criticise Russia while acknowledging the significant consequences of the war in Ukraine for the global economy.
India’s G-20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant dubbed the declaration historic and path-breaking and said there was 100 per cent consensus on all developmental and geopolitical issues. The reference to geopolitics is especially important given the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s G20 sherpa Kant credited his team led by four stalwarts for paving the way for the joint statement that involved getting member nations to agree over the language surrounding the war. These four sherpas from the G20 secretariat are:-
Abhay Thakur, Additional Secretary, Nagaraj Naidu Kakanur, Joint Secretary, Enam Gambhir, Joint Secretary and Ashish Kumar Sinha, Joint Secretary.
A series of hardball negotiations by India with China, Russia and other key Western players and a strong backing by Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia to the efforts helped New Delhi achieve consensus on the G20 declaration, belying fears about whether the document could be issued at all in view of sharp divisions in the bloc on the Ukraine war. India managed well in convincing China to agree to the text relating to the Ukraine conflict after the European Union concurred with the text, they said.
India managed well in convincing China to agree to the text relating to the Ukraine conflict after the European Union concurred with the text…
More than 200 hours of non-stop negotiations, 300 bilateral meetings and 15 drafts went into bringing consensus on the geopolitical paras (Russia-Ukraine) that clinched the Delhi Declaration with 100 percent consensus. Kant said the declaration was the result of multiple rounds of talks – from discussions with developing economies about the war’s economic impact to bilateral meets with Russia and China – and that consensus was reached.
Kant said the key was “working in partnership with sherpas” and that it was a joint effort of emerging markets – led by India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, and later Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – that brought pressure to bear on G7 nations– Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union –and brought them to the table. Clinching a New Delhi Declaration involved bringing together member nations who were deeply divided over the issue of the language surrounding the war.
With less than a week to go for the start of the G20 Leaders’ Summit and with the countries stalemated over the Russia-Ukraine issue, their Sherpas took a dramatic decision. They decided to go off air and packed off their aides from the meeting room in a hotel 55 km from Delhi. This was the desperate last ditch attempt to stitch a consensus for the Leader’s Summit.
A convergence on Ukraine had evaded the countries in the meetings at the level of ministers and among sherpas with Russia stonewalling the west’s insistence to condemn Moscow’s aggression.
However, there was still potential for disaster – a last-minute disagreement that would mean the 2023 New Delhi G20 Summit would become the first G20 meet to not have a fully unanimous declaration. And it was here, Kant revealed, that he drew on the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Kant said that what New Delhi achieved was “truly unique” in terms of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. He said it was the voice of emerging markets speaking out.
The Indian sherpa Kant revealed that PM Modi’s instruction was to achieve full consensus, “we do not want any footnote, we do not want any chair summary – it has to be a 100 per cent consensus.” Kant said that what New Delhi achieved was “truly unique” in terms of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. He said it was the voice of emerging markets speaking out.
“After having done about 15 different drafts, four sherpas realised that this was the best balance, this was the best perspective and it had taken care of everyone’s red lines – so Kant took it to Sherpas’ meeting late at night and said this is the final version and we will make no changes. If any country has any issues, please ask your leader to talk to my Prime Minister. “My Prime Minister has given green signal, and feels it is a very good draft.”
Kant said this was finished at about 4 am and when he checked his phone at 7 am in the morning, there was no objection to the draft from any countries. “Everyone had fallen in line,” the Indian sherpa said, adding that this shows the clout of Prime Minister Modi.