India’s G20 Presidency should aim end of Russia-Ukraine conflict

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By Rahul Kumar Dubey

New Delhi, August 14: The success of India’s G20 Presidency will be determined by how nimbly Prime Minister Narendra Modi can find ways to unite friendly nations, put a stop to disputes, and mend broken global supply chains.

The G20 presidency, which India will hold from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023, comes at a time when the global power dynamics are oscillating, with vast economic and military powers supposedly locked in conflicts.

Food, fuel, and commodity prices have spiked as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing Western sanctions, while inflation has made the situation even worse.

Nations’ debts have also surged, while it shall not be forgotten that the global economy is still reeling from the aftershocks of the pandemic. Hence, the moment has come for India to take a step further from focusing onto sharpening its socio-economic paradigms with the party countries, besides navigating the politics of peace, sustainability and holistic socio-economic wellbeing of the global order.

The announcement by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that he will propose to the United Nations (UN) the formation of a commission comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pope Francis, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to end the conflict in places such as Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan re-instate India’s status as a Vishwaguru.

At this moment, there are a number of global concerns that India’s G20 Presidency will face.

Modi must think out of the box and cautiously in order to keep both the West and Russia away from the hot zone of Ukraine. It’s known that the West’s desire to exclude Russia from the G20 was unrealistic, and Indonesia too refrained from barring Russia completely from G20 during its presidency, while the continuation of the Russia-Ukraine confrontation for indefinite period of time is also unrealistic at the same time.

The middle path here is a strategic retreat for both sides, wherein the West will have to put Ukraine’s NATO membership on hold since it is the apple of discord for Russia, and Moscow might be urged to hold back its forces and allow dialogue its fair share.

The global community has already borne the stick of global economic slowdown, climate change, rising prices along with a variety of other issues. No responsible nation wants this confrontation to escalate into a full-fledged war.

Sanctions against Russia have diverted spotlight away from global socioeconomic recovery as a result of the pandemic, while enough measures have been put in place to confront Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine.

India has historical and security ties with Moscow. Several EU and G20 member countries, especially a close ally France, have urged India to be more vocal in criticising Russia’s activities in Ukraine.

As the regional conflict accentuates global concerns about a failing global order, India would be expected to change its stance toward Russia while simultaneously spearheading a G20 agenda aimed at hastening collective economic recovery.

Conflict resolution is a duty that has historically been attributed to the United Nations (UN), but its failure might be a cornerstone for India to take up this issue and direct the way to peace, as vouched by the Mexican President recently.

If India can contribute to the resolution of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, it would have accomplished what the varied set of international bodies, including the UN Security Council, has failed to do.

India’s foreign policy continues to be guided by its very principle of protecting the national interest first, which we have seen during India’s External Affairs Minister’s recent visit to the United States for the 2+2 conversation.  (To be continued…)

(Author is a researcher with Public Policy Research Centre)

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