Diplomacy and Cooperation: Assessing the G20 New Delhi Declaration’s Impact

 By Dr Shushant VC Parashar
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Abstract

In the wake of global crises, the G20 is on its way to becoming an essential forum of global governance and cooperation. This paper aims to investigate the New Delhi Declaration passed unanimously on Day 1 of the G20 and asses the key takeaways that will impact global politics and strategy.

Keywords: G20, Diplomacy, Cooperation, India, Politics.

India’s G20 Presidency concluded with the Leader’s Summit and the release of the Delhi Declaration. This is a significant achievement for India, considering the various geopolitical crises affecting many G20 countries. The Indian Presidency successfully managed ongoing challenges such as the war between Russia and Ukraine, energy and food shortages, fears of a worldwide recession, and the looming threat of climate change, which affects all countries.

The New Delhi Declaration’s unequivocal release showcases India’s rising role in the global theatre and, therefore, will be seen as an essential milestone when one studies India’s role in international diplomacy and cooperation in the future. Despite the doubt in many minds that the G20 forum would be taken over to discuss the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, the Indian Presidency of the G20 outperformed expectations and, against all odds, consolidated the G20’s position of being a “foremost platform for worldwide economic collaboration.”

            The G20 Presidency has now been passed to Brazil, which, alongside India, is a member of various multilateral fora, including the BRICS. The current analysis aims to reveal a few key takeaways from the duly released declaration.

The New Delhi Declaration: The What, The How and The Why

            The G20, officially known as the Group of Twenty, was established in 1999 in response to various world economic crises. Comprising 19 sovereign nations, the European Union, and now the African Union, it functions as a prominent intergovernmental forum. The G20’s core objectives include addressing pressing global economic issues, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.

            In 2022, India led the G20 for the first time, prioritising inclusive growth, digital innovation, climate resilience, and global health. India’s diplomatic approach exemplified collaborative solutions. The passing of the declaration signals a global power shift from North to South, with India playing a crucial role in its negotiation and cooperation. The document sets the course for future negotiations under other G20 presidencies, promoting stability and global collaboration. This agreement is expected to bring about a wave of reforms in international forums and provide opportunities for many countries in the Global South[1] to voice their opinions. Understanding the document’s contents is essential to anticipate how global strategy unfolds.

            The G20 document starts by stating its theme and the importance of decisions taken. It emphasises the need to work with the environment and act against global challenges. India’s non-alignment principle is reflected in the document, referring to the UN Charter and respecting countries’ territorial sovereignty. The use of nuclear weapons in war is also rendered objectionable, given the possibility of Russia and Ukraine using them in the future[2]. The document highlights Turkey’s and the UN’s success in negotiating with Russia for food imports during the ongoing war. India’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine war is clear: “We are not neutral; we are on the side of peace[3].

            The G20 emphasises the need for macroeconomic and structural policies to promote sustainable growth. Private enterprises will play a significant role. Member countries plan to work closely with the private sector to create strong global value chains, support developing countries, and promote sustainable and responsible business practices. The document stresses the importance of a fair and sustainable trading system that allows for global growth. The G20 declaration stressed on the need to reinvigorate multilateralism, regulate crypto assets, harness the potential of AI[4], and create a fair and sustainable international tax system. It also thanked India for hosting the summit and congratulated us on the successful Chandryaan-3 landing.

Key Takeaways

            Given the exhaustive nature of the New Delhi Declaration, the key takeaways from the communique include the following:

            The Indian G20 theme “One World, One Family, One Future “aligns with India’s foreign policies like SAGAR. India has walked the tightrope on Russia’s actions in Ukraine. “Today’s era must not be of war”[5] refers to ongoing conflicts such as the Russian-Ukraine war and potential China-USA tensions that could impact India’s neighbourhood.

            In accordance with the UN Charter, the communique, emphasises that all nations should refrain from using or threatening to use force to gain control over another country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, or political independence. Additionally, the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable. Digitisation is now the primary factor of production in a wide range of economic activities, making it essential to establish a digital economy. The G20 acknowledges the significance of the digital economy while striving towards creating resilient and sustainable digital infrastructure. India seeks to streamline ties with the WTO by including it in a multilateral financial system. To tackle climate change, a Global Biofuel Alliance has been created to boost the use of cleaner fuels. Developing a Hydrogen production and transportation network among the G20 members is also emphasised.

            The document highlights the importance of preserving ocean-based economies and ecosystems. India’s draft Blue Economy Policy and efforts to access deep-sea resources pertaining to the G20 declaration on Ocean Economy are relevant. Antarctica is also significant due to its resource potential and the role in India’s monsoons. Including AU in the G20 presents opportunities for India to increase its African presence and cement existing relations.

 Conclusion

            As the world gradually recovers from the pandemic and navigates its way through the Russia-Ukraine conflict and other potential conflicts, the importance of the G20 countries implementing reforms to emerge stronger from crises is unmistakable. The recently released New Delhi Declaration underscores the need to establish an open, resilient, and sustainable global system. The declaration represents a significant step in bridging the gap between developed and developing countries. During India’s Presidency, the international forum aimed to mobilise financial support to address issues affecting G20 countries and the world while looking at problems from the developing world’s perspective. The declaration sets an ambitious tone for many areas. Still, the successful implementation of the policies mentioned will depend on continued coordination and cooperation, a crucial test of the international forum’s effectiveness in the years ahead.

[1] Haidar, S. (2023, September 10). Win for Global South, says Russian FM, praises India for G-20 summit statement success. The Hindu. Accessed from: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/win-for-global-south-says-russian-fm-praises-india-for-g-20-summit-statement-success/article67292866.ece. Accessed on: 14/09/2023.

[2] G20. (2023, September 10). G20 New Delhi Leader’s Declaration. G20. Accessed from: https://www.g20.org/content/dam/gtwenty/gtwenty_new/document/G20-New-Delhi-Leaders-Declaration.pdf. Accessed on: 10/09/2023.

[3] Madhukalya, A. (2023, June 20). ‘We are not neutral, we are on the side of peace’: PM Modi on Russia-Ukraine conflict. Business Today. Accessed from: https://www.businesstoday.in/latest/economy/story/we-are-not-neutral-we-are-on-the-side-of-peace-pm-modi-on-russia-ukraine-conflict-386334-2023-06-20.  Accessed on: 10/09/2023.

[4] Barik, S. (2023, September 9). Delhi declaration: G20 leaders endorse safe deployment of digital public infrastructure, responsible use of AI. The Indian Express. Accessed from: https://indianexpress.com/article/business/delhi-declaration-g20-safe-deployment-digital-public-infrastructure-ai-8932374/. Accessed on: 14/09/2023.

[5] ET Online. (2023, September 10). “Today’s era must not be of war”: G20 declaration calls on states to uphold principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty. The Economic Times. Accessed from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/todays-era-must-not-be-of-war-g20-declaration-calls-on-states-to-uphold-principles-of-territorial-integrity-sovereignty/articleshow/103535128.cms?from=mdr. Accessed on: 11/09/2023.