Thursday, November 30, 2023

“This isn’t an era of war”: India reaffirms position on Russia-Ukraine conflict

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India reaffirmed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that this isn’t an era of war” on Wednesday.

Speaking at a special briefing on G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said, “India’s position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict is that ‘This isn’t an era of war’. Dialogue and diplomacy are the way forward. The agenda is for the foreign ministers to discuss in the meet.” 

He stated that the Russia-Ukraine conflict will be a major topic of discussion when foreign ministers from around the world meet in New Delhi on Thursday for the Group of 20 (G20) meeting.

“Given the developing situation of Russia-Ukraine, naturally, it’ll be an important point of discussion during the Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Foreign ministers will be focusing on the Russia-Ukraine situation, it’ll be important to what they come out with, what understanding is developed,” said Kwatra.

“Issues of the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the world, including economic impact and impact on development, will also be discussed,” he added.

Kwatra said that G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting under India’s G20 presidency will be held tomorrow.

“This would be the second ministerial meeting held under our presidency. The venue will be Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Center. 40 delegations expected to participate,” he said.

The G20 foreign ministers meeting comes just days after a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Bengaluru failed to produce a joint communique due to sharp differences between Western powers and the Russia-China alliance over the Ukraine conflict.

When asked if a joint statement would be issued following the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, Foreign Secretary Kwatra said, “Can’t predict the outcomes.”

“Ask the Russians, Chinese if they stand by Bali consensus, we stand by the declaration,” said the Mninistry of External Affairs spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi.

He stated that Russia and China were opposed to some aspects of the Bali Declaration, which was included in the India chair statement/outcome following the finance ministers’ meeting. Meanwhile, when asked how India will be the voice of the global south at the G20 FMs meeting, Kwatra stated that sessions will “capture” issues of the global south.

Foreign ministers will also likely discuss how to deal with slowing economic growth, rising inflation, lower demand for goods and services, and rising food, fuel, and fertiliser prices. The Foreign Ministers meeting on Thursday will be chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who will preside over two sessions.

“First session will focus on multilateralism, and issues related to food and energy while the second session will focus on four or five key issues including new and emerging threats including counter-terrorism and narcotics, global skill mapping, focus on global talent pools,” said the Foreign Secretary.

Kwatra responded to a meeting between Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang by saying, “The External Affairs minister is expected to be meeting all foreign ministers. Details to be shared once all the meetings are concluded.”

The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on March 1-2, 2023, under India’s presidency. Representatives from 40 countries, including non-G20 members invited by India, as well as representatives from multilateral organisations, will attend.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to speak to the foreign ministers of the G20 member countries about India’s growing global influence. 

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