India on Thursday urged the G20 grouping to send a collective message affirming its resolve to address the complex global challenges, including that of food and energy security, amid an increasingly bitter rift between the West and the Russia-China combine over the Ukraine conflict. In his remarks at the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, without mentioning the Ukraine conflict, said the grouping must find common ground and provide direction to the world though there are some “matters of sharp differences”.
“Let us remind ourselves that this grouping bears an exceptional responsibility. We first came together in the midst of a global crisis and are today, once again, actually confronting multiple on,” he said. Jaishankar identified the impact of the Covid pandemic, concerns of fragile supply chains, the knock-on effects of ongoing conflicts and anxiety of debt crises as some of the key challenges.
“In considering these issues, we may not all always be of one mind. In fact, there are some matters of sharp differences of opinions and views. Yet, we must find common ground and provide direction, because that is what the world expects of us,” he said. His comments came amid indication of sharp differences between the West and the Russia-China combine over agreeing on a joint communique at the end of the meeting.
The discussions at the meeting also included the challenges of food, fertilisers and fuel security. “These are truly make or break issues for developing countries. We heard their concerns directly in January this year through the Voice of Global South Summit,” he said. “Such issues should not be relegated to the periphery of the international discourse. They are infact, crucial to the global economy and must be treated as such,” he said.
“Indeed, we urge that they be central to any decision making. Along with that, the world must also strive for more reliable and resilient supply chains. Recent experience has underlined the risks of being dependent on limited geographies,” Jaishankar added. The external affairs minister also highlighted the need for putting foucs on “pressing and more systemic challenges that we all confront.” “The future of multilateralism depends very much on our ability to strengthen it in a changing world. Food and energy security are immediate anxieties, magnified by recent events,” Jaishankar said. “But they do have long-term repercussions and solutions. And development cooperation is part of that larger solution that we are deliberating upon today,” he said.
The external affairs minister also referred to the need for reform of multilateral institutions, saying the global architecture is in its eighth decade.“The number of members of the United Nations has quadrupled in this period. It neither reflects today’s politics, economics, demographics or aspirations. Since 2005, we have heard sentiments for reform being expressed at the highest level,” he said.“But as we all know, these are not materialised. The reasons are no secret either. The longer we put it off, the more the credibility of multilateralism stands eroded. Global decision making must be democratised if it has to have a future,” he added.
The external affairs minister said the G20 countries “individually and collectively” have an obligation to contribute to international growth and prosperity. “Today’s situation demands that we continue to live up to our international responsibilities. The G20 must be sensitive to the priorities and economic concerns of all our partners, especially those more vulnerable,” he said.
“We must ensure demand driven and sustainable development cooperation based on country ownership and transparency. Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity are essential guiding principles for such cooperation,” he added. He concluded by saying that the G20 foreign ministers can send a collective message affirming their determination to address the complex challenges that they are facing at this juncture.