A Summit of Surprises | Editorial

A Summit of Surprises | Editorial

The G20 Summit in New Delhi was marked with three surprises. Apart from a carefully worded communique that saved the day for world leaders, and that too on the very first day, the aristocratic gathering called for peace in Ukraine without condemning Russia. Likewise, it was a revelation for many as a trade corridor through the Middle East was announced making India and the US as the two focal end to end points. The initiative spelt out by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman will see European, Arab and Indian seaports connected with billions of dollars across the three continents. Last but not least was the shocking decision of Italy to exit the Chinese BRI project, citing unfounded reasons of complicity.

The 18th egalitarian moot, however, had an ethno-political thunderbolt too as India for the first time in its 76 years existence named it as ‘Bharat.’ This speaks volumes of not only how the world’s second populous state and third largest economy is driving itself towards a marginalised agenda of seclusion in the name of Hindu hardliner-ism. The fact that none of the 19 states made it a point to seek even a tongue-in-cheek explanation from PM Narendra Modi, and were seen unmoved to the radicalism harps was unbecoming for stability in the region.

There was a lot of jargon and window-dressing too as the summit was dubbed as ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future,’ simply making it a point of consensus on issues ranging from climate change to sustainable development, and from alerting the world from the misuse of nuclear weapons to ensuring the implementation of supply chain through the Black Sea ‘grain deal’.

The 37-page joint declaration reflected the leadership’s unanimity on developmental and geo-political issues, but stopped short of calling a spade a spade as volatile subjects such as aggression over Kyiv, occupation of Palestine and grave human rights violations in Kashmir went unnoticed. Signing of the Global Biofuels Alliance and the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, apart from vowing to pool in $100 billion every year for climate finance will have to walk the talk.

A Summit of Surprises | Editorial

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2023.

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