Politics of Global South in the G20’s Delhi declaration

Politics of Global South in the G20’s Delhi declaration

The centrality of the Global South in the overall scheme of things could not be missed.

The New Delhi leaders’ declaration that headlined the G20 meet threw up a few surprises. One, it came hours after the two-day summit opened, while the rule of thumb is that such declarations are announced at the fag end of the talks. And two, the G7 and the European Union agreed to drop the strong language on the Russian invasion of Ukraine they forced into the Bali declaration last year. The Bali declaration had strongly deplored Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and demanded its complete and unconditional troop withdrawal. Russia had somehow consented to that phraseology but walked out of it a few weeks later, putting future declarations in a pickle.

Over the last few weeks, G20 sherpas of all member states did mental gymnastics to find a workaround till they arrived at what foreign minister S Jaishankar called was a common landing point. While there was no clear word on how it was thrashed out, three countries are said to have helped craft the final please-all text. Jaishankar did not identify the countries but said the emerging markets took the lead on it. The final document made a general statement advising all countries to refrain from the use of force for territorial acquisition, adding that the threat of using nuclear weapons was inadmissible. It explicitly mentioned Russia only in the context of reviving the Black Sea initiative to let Ukraine export foodgrains. If the softened language contributes to restarting Ukraine’s grain exports, it would cool food inflation across the world, which is in everybody’s interest, and address hunger in the Global South.

Among the other important announcements was a multilateral pact to build a new economic corridor connecting Asia, Europe and the US, a clear counter to China’s Belt and Road initiative. Besides, a global biofuel alliance was launched. But the centrality of the Global South in the overall scheme of things could not be missed. It began with the induction of the African Union into the grouping. It also manifested in the name card before Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which read Bharat, not India. The political messaging of course was the BJP’s alignment with the poor in the country—as against the Opposition bloc’s INDIA. The apparent idea is to refurbish a massy image of Modi as a pro-poor messiah ahead of the assembly and national polls. A Constitutional amendment to make the country’s name change effective might possibly wait.

The New Indian Express