G20 Summit: ‘Bali was Bali, New Delhi is Delhi’ Jaishankar defends Delhi Declaration text on Russia-Ukraine conflict

    India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday talked about the New Delhi G20 Leadership Declaration that called upon for peace in Ukraine. While the adoption of the declaration was hailed as something with ‘100% consensus’, and ‘historic’, it also earned criticism for being silent on Russia, and for talking about war ‘in Ukraine’ instead of war ‘against Ukraine’.

    The New Delhi Declaration is seen as a significant victory for India’s G20 presidency. Its adoption highlighted that members have successfully clinched a consensus amid increasing tensions and divergent views over the Ukraine conflict.

    Addressing a press briefing on the G20 Summit outcomes, he also said that while noting that G20 is not the platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues, the leaders recognised that they can have significant consequences for the global economy.

    “In particular they dwelt on the ongoing war in Ukraine and the impact it has had especially on developing and least developing nations still recovering from the pandemic and economic disruption,” Jaishankar said.

    Jaishankar while responding to a question on the change in language referring to the Ukraine conflict in the New Delhi Declaration from the G20 position in the Bali document, said, “Regarding the change in language on the Russia-Ukraine conflict from the Bali Declaration – Bali was Bali, New Delhi is Delhi. Many things have happened since the Bali Declaration.”

    “One should not have a theological view of this. The New Delhi Declaration responds to the situation as it stands today. The New Delhi Declaration responds to the concerns of today just like the Bali Declaration responded to the concerns of that time.”

    The G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration adopted last year said, “We reiterated our national positions as expressed in other fora, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, which, in Resolution No. ES-11/1 dated 2 March 2022, as adopted by majority vote (141 votes for, 5 against, 35 abstentions, 12 absent) deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine.”

    It had also said, “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine.”

    Jaishankar also responded to a question on how difficult it was to arrive at a consensus on the Ukraine conflict. “This is a declaration of 83 paras, there are a lot of subjects covered, but obviously because of the ongoing conflict and the different views on it, considerable time was spent in the last few days with regard to geopolitical issues which were mostly centred around the war in Ukraine,” he said.

    Asked which countries helped forge a consensus on the Ukraine conflict, Jaishankar said,” Actually… Everybody helped. Everybody came together to forge a consensus, but emerging markets took a particular lead on this and many of us have a strong history of working together. Bear in mind that actually, you have four developing countries in succession for the G20 presidency…Indonesia, us, Brazil and South Africa.”

    Ukraine’s response to Delhi Declaration

    The Ukrainian foreign ministry said on Saturday the G20’s joint declaration was “nothing to be proud of” and criticised it for not mentioning Russia.

    Foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko posted a screenshot of the relevant section of the joint declaration, with several pieces of the text crossed out in red and corrected with wording which reflects Ukraine’s position that it is a victim of unprovoked Russian aggression.

    “It is clear that the participation of the Ukrainian side (in the G20 meeting) would have allowed the participants to better understand the situation,” he wrote on Facebook.




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    Updated: 09 Sep 2023, 10:17 PM IST

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