New Delhi, September 9
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday the G20 had achieved consensus on leaders’ Joint Declaration. “There is good news, with everyone’s cooperation, consensus has been reached on the New Delhi G20 Leadership Declaration,” PM Modi announced on the opening day of the G20 Summit to applause from other leaders and delegates.
Another new addition to the Declaration was the resolve to promote respect for religious and cultural diversity, dialogue and tolerance. “We also emphasise that freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion or expression, the right to peaceful assembly, and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing and stress these rights can play a role in the fight against all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief. In this regard, we strongly deplore all acts of religious hatred against a person,” it said.
The unanimous adoption of New Delhi G20 Leadership Declaration means a diplomatic victory for India and other developing countries that had been trying hard to avoid a split in the G20 over the issue of including references to Russia in the conflict in Ukraine in the Joint Declaration which runs into 37 pages and spans over 80 paragraphs.
The Tribune had reported on Friday that the Declaration was “almost ready” and all countries could agree on its full text. What was surprising was that the document is usually released at the end of the Summit and veterans said they did not recall a Joint Declaration being issued on the first day of the Summit itself.
“They were very tough and ruthless negotiations. The emerging markets played a key role. Eventually we said the leaders want it,” India’s G20 Sherpa, Amitabh Kant told the media while attributing the success to combined efforts by developing countries including India, China, South Africa, Brazil and Turkiye.
Explaining the dramatic development that broke a year-long logjam, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “Emerging markets took a lead and many of us have a strong history of working together. Also bear in mind that the G20 Presidency is being held in succession by four developing countries…. But obviously because of ongoing conflict, there were strong views about it and considerable time was spent in last few days on geo-political issues which centered around the war in Ukraine.”
The Minister also drew attention to another para in the Declaration that recognised that while the G20 is not the platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues, it acknowledged that these issues can have significant consequences for the global economy. A sentence acknowledged the divide by stating that there were different views and assessments of the (Ukraine) situation.
The other prominent issues that figure in the Joint Declaration include more loans to developing reform of international debt architecture, regulations on cryptocurrency and the impact of geopolitics on food and energy security.
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