Shashi Tharoor Lauds India’s G20 Success, Calls the Summit a “Diplomatic Triumph”

11 September, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava

Tharoor National

Shashi Tharoor observerd that the Indian government turned G20 Summit into people's G20 with public events, university engagement programs and civil society participation.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor expressed his admiration for the New Delhi Declaration of the G20 members, describing it as an unequivocal diplomatic victory for India. In an interview, Shashi Tharoor noted, “The Delhi Declaration unquestionably marks a diplomatic triumph for India. It is a notable accomplishment because leading up to the G20 summit, there was a prevailing expectation that no consensus would be reached. This raised concerns that a joint communique might not be achievable, potentially leading to a chairman’s summary as the only outcome.”

During the opening day of the G20 summit on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the adoption of the New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit Declaration, citing a consensus that had been established beforehand. Throughout the day, Prime Minister Modi presided over G20 sessions and commended the Sherpas and ministers for their efforts in bridging differences and achieving consensus among all G20 members and other stakeholders.

Shashi Tharoor also commended India for successfully uniting all member states around the New Delhi Declaration. He explained, “The primary reason for the lack of consensus on the statement was the substantial divide between those advocating for condemnation of the Russian war in Ukraine and those, such as Russia and China, who opposed any mention of the issue. India managed to find a compromise to bridge that divide, and that is a significant diplomatic achievement because a Summit without a joint communique is typically perceived as a setback for the chairmanship,” Tharoor added.

Discussing the G20 summit under India’s presidency, Shashi Tharoor highlighted that the government had transformed it into a ‘people’s G20.’ He noted that it was an effort by the ruling party, the BJP, to leverage the mega gathering of world leaders for their benefit.

He said, “What was striking about the government’s handling of the presidency was that they did something unprecedented. They turned it into a nationwide event with 200 meetings in 58 cities, involving a considerable amount of engagement. They effectively turned the G20 into a ‘people’s G20’ with public events, university engagement programs, and civil society participation. This was a credit to India for spreading the G20 message to the entire populace, but it was also an attempt by the ruling party to utilize the G20 as a political asset,” Tharoor commented.

Prime Minister Modi, in concluding the G20 summit on Sunday, proposed a virtual G20 session in November to review the suggestions and proposals presented at this premier forum for international economic cooperation.

In response, Tharoor noted, “They have every right to do that as the ruling party. Many countries have hosted the G20 event, but never before has a ruling party celebrated its leadership in such a manner, with the ‘Vishwaguru’ concept and Mr. Modi’s posters displayed every 50 meters in Delhi. All of these portray the G20 as a personal achievement of Mr. Modi and the BJP government, which has raised some eyebrows.”

Before officially closing the summit, Prime Minister Modi symbolically handed over the ceremonial gavel of the G20 presidency to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. India took over the G20 presidency on December 1 of the preceding year, and approximately 200 meetings related to the G20 were conducted across 60 cities in India during its tenure.

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