Business Standard

G20 issues bigger than the Russia-Ukraine war, says Amitabh Kant

Kant said that India had presented its deliverables to G20, and negotiations had begun on the text of these deliverables

Amitabh Kant

Amitabh Kant | Photo: Bloomberg

Arup Roychoudhury Kumarakom

Listen to This Article

India’s Sherpa to the Group of Twenty (G20), Amitabh Kant, on Thursday said the issue of the Russia-Ukraine war should not hold back progress on other major global issues, and that the mandate of the multilateral grouping had a responsibility to find solutions to these challenges.

“The war may have impacted one part of the world, but there are many issues facing the rest of the world. Those are the issues which have to be centre stage,” Kant said on the eve of the meeting of G20 Sherpas – who act as representatives of the heads of state – in Kumarakom.

“One issue cannot hold the other issues back. There is the challenge of unemployment and poverty, of global debt impacting 75 countries in the world, of climate action, of recession in one-third of the global economy. These are far more important issues. These are the issues impacting the rest of the world,” he said.

On Thursday, the Sherpa meeting kicked off with two side events, one on digital payments infrastructure, and the other on green development. That apart, Kant also held bilateral meetings with Sherpas from Russia, Italy, Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa.

“We had an hour-long discussion with Russia on all issues. We are optimistic and confident that we will work in partnership with all 20 countries,” he said.

Kant asserted that as President, India had gotten the G20 nations to agree on almost all the agenda items, be it in the chair summary of the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting (FMCBG) in Bengaluru in February, or the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (FMM) in March.

“If para 3 and 4 are contentious, they are not because of us. This has nothing to do with India. There is a geopolitical scenario outside India’s control,” he said.

The paras that Kant was were the third and fourth paragraphs of the chair summaries of FMCBG and FMM. These criticise the war in Ukraine and have been largely unchanged from the Bali Leaders Declaration of November 2022, which was decided upon by the G-20 Heads of States.

The paras say that the war is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy, and reiterated the United Nations resolution which deplored “in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine”.

A communique could not be issued in either of the two meetings because Russia and China did not want the two paragraphs to be included.

Kant said that India had presented its deliverables to G20, and negotiations had begun on the text of these deliverables.

“We are discussing a host of issues, which we will continue to do over the next two-three days of the Kumarakom backwaters. Hopefully, Kumarakom will provide peace and serenity to all the delegates here, it will enable us in the coming days to deal with global challenges,” he said.

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Mar 30 2023 | 10:14 PM IST

Explore News