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G20 meeting shows a deepening crisis in multilateralism

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests


Source: IE

 Context: The G-20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Delhi was unable to agree to a joint communique, over differences between Russia and the West on the war in Ukraine.


Issues that needed to be addressed  at the recent meeting:

  • The war in Ukraine: The G20 members accept that security issues can have a big impact on the world economy but that the G20 is not the platform to address such issues.
    • The UNSC and UNGA resolution condemn Russia’s actions against Ukraine and call for its unconditional and total withdrawal from Ukrainian territory.
  • Upholding international law that safeguards peace and stability: This includes defending the Principles enshrined in the Charter of the UN and adhering to international humanitarian law.


The principal reason for the diplomatic failure in Delhi:

  • The decision by Russia to walk away from the Bali consensus (calling it a “thing of the past”) and China’s decision to support it.
  • Russia also feels that the meetings are about the economy, growth, development and other global challenges.


Implications: Underlines the deepening great power conflict and worsening crisis of multilateralism.


Other agreements at the meeting: A number of issues of interest to India and the developing world include –

  • Food and energy security,
  • Cooperation to counter-terrorism, climate change, global health and disaster management.


India’s twin ambitions as G20 President:

  • To continue the campaign to reform multilateralism and
  • To get the world to take greater cognisance of the challenges faced by the “Global South”.


Way ahead for India as G20 President:

  • It is clear that India cannot rely on the language of the Bali Summit.
  • The Sherpas will need to craft fresh language on Ukraine – an innovative formula that considers Russian concerns as well as the western desire to condemn Russia’s conduct.
  • India can leverage Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), whose foreign ministers are going to meet soon after the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting.


Conclusion: As host, India is in the ‘hot seat’ balancing the G7 camp on one side and the Russia-China combine on the other, to ensure that a middle path is found.


Insta Links:

A new global vision for G20


Mains Links:

“The long sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalised nations has disappeared on account of its newfound role in the emerging global order.’ Elaborate (UPSC 2019)