G20 meeting in Bengaluru ended in chaos over more sanctions on Russia
During the G20 ministerial meeting in India, The G7 nations were adamant about condemning Russia's activities in Ukraine, while New Delhi did not want to discuss additional sanctions on Russia.
Last month, on the first anniversary of a US proxy war in Ukraine, the financial leaders of the Group of Twenty (G-20) met in Bengaluru, India's "silicon city," to suggest more sanctions on Russia. However, they could not agree on pushing the US-backed narrative on Ukraine or building consensus on a declaration denouncing the Russian role in the Ukrainian conflict.
The G-20 finance ministers meeting in Bengaluru was a prelude to the G20 summit, which is scheduled to meet on September 9-10 this year at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.
The ministerial meeting did not come to any consensus during the two-day meeting in India because China and Russia did not agree with what other participants had to say about Moscow's assertiveness in Ukraine, and the host, India, preferred not to budge directly on criticizing Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.
G7 set the objectives
A few days before the G20 ministerial meeting in India, the G7 finance ministers met in Bengaluru to come up with a plan. Japan, which is hosting the G7 ministerial meetings this year in preparation for the G7 leaders' summit meeting being held in Hiroshima from May 19 to 21, presided over the conference.
In a press briefing before the G7 meeting on February 21, Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said that the G7 meeting on February 23 will discuss ways to put pressure on Russia to stop the "special military operation" in Ukraine.
"The war has continued despite the numerous punitive measures adopted against Russia by the G7 and other nations. Support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia will dominate the conversation," he stated during a news conference. He said, "We will continue to work closely with the G7 and the international community to strengthen the effectiveness of sanctions to achieve our ultimate aim of convincing Russia to withdraw."
India’s conflicting position on the issue was evident from the fact that it avoided subscribing to the general views for more sanctions on Russia. Due to the lack of unanimity among G20 countries, India issued a "chair's summary and outcome document" that just summarised the two days of discussions and identified disputes. The chair's report claims that "most members strongly condemned the violence in Ukraine, showing concerns over the human miseries and making the world economy even more unstable. The document cited the disruption of supply chains, risks to financial stability, and continued energy and food insecurity as an outcome of the Ukraine crisis.
India was the host, but given the close defense relations between Moscow and New Delhi, it lacks the motivation to give flak to Russia in a manner that the US wanted it to do. The public statements of half a dozen senior Indian officials indicated that New Delhi does not want the G20 to discuss additional sanctions on Russia for its "invasion of Ukraine," at least during its one-year presidency of the bloc, amid debate over how smoothly the conflict could be described.
The G7 nations were adamant about using strong language to denounce Russia's activities in Ukraine, including the particular use of the phrase "war," which was resisted by Russia and China. Reports say that In his opening remarks, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no mention of Ukraine primarily because the G20 ministerial meeting is an economic gathering and that India is awkwardly positioned between the G7 and Russia.
But the worries about the economy that were brought up were not dealt with, and during the two-day summit, nothing was done to improve access to energy, make food more secure, reform the supply chain, or give loans to poor countries. Even though the IMF said that 15% of low-income countries have debt problems and China said that these countries' loans should be renegotiated, no real progress was witnessed. Instead, penalties were proposed on Russia and Iran for their use of cutting-edge technology to undermine US objectives in Ukraine.
Non-consensus on universal values
Surprisingly, the G20 ministers were unable to reach unanimity, even on the innocuous paragraph 4 of the chair's summary, which states, "It is crucial to defend international law and the multilateral framework that protects peace and stability. This includes defending all the aims and principles outlined in the United Nations Charter and adhering to international humanitarian law, which includes the protection of persons and infrastructure in armed situations. The threat or use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable. Diplomacy and dialogue, as well as the peaceful resolution of conflicts and measures to handle crises, are indispensable. This must not be a day of the war." The G20 ministerial meeting in India has even failed to forge unanimity on the "Leaders’ Declaration."
Results from Bengaluru raise questions about whether or not sufficient time and effort are being devoted to discreet diplomacy in advance of the G20 meetings to develop an agreed agenda and consensus upon which the success of the summit, geopolitical gains, and soft power hinge. While all G20 presidencies are required to have Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors (FMCBG) meetings, other ministerial meetings are discretionary and up to the chair. India's failure to develop consensus wording on Ukraine at the Bengaluru summit makes it unclear what the country wants to accomplish by calling for a meeting of G20 foreign ministers so soon. Foreign ministers have little to talk about besides Ukraine at the FMCBG event, despite its extensive economic and financial agenda. India runs the risk of having another ministerial without an agreed communiqué if the groundwork is not laid beforehand.
Editorial reviews of several media networks reveal that the G20 bloc is always divided when it comes to the Ukraine issue. It is clear as day who is on which side of the struggle in the center of Europe, which has shattered the flimsy peace that has prevailed since 1945. Although it prefers to maintain its neutrality, China does not refer to the crisis as one involving Russia and Ukraine. The EU, encouraged by the US support of Ukraine, wants to make its version of statements, scolding Russia's march on Ukraine.
The media believe that Russia's involvement in Ukraine has put an end to global unipolarity, and there are people on both sides of this argument. Since the confrontation pits the United States against Russia and encourages Moscow to challenge the leadership of Washington, China stands to gain from it. The media agree that all parties should ensure that NATO's purported expansion to the east must halt at its borders. The most prominent diplomatic action at Bengaluru was China's 12-point agenda for a "political settlement" in Ukraine, although it received little backing.