INDIA: On Saturday, the chiefs of the finance departments of the world’s largest economies firmly denounced Moscow for its war in Ukraine, with only China and Russia itself refusing to sign a joint statement.
Russia and China did not want to talk politics on G20 platform
India, which was hosting a meeting in Bengaluru as chair of the Group of Twenty (G20) economies, was hesitant to bring up the issue of the conflict, but Western countries insisted they could not support any decision that did not include a condemnation.
The absence of agreement among G20 members meant India resorted to providing a “chair’s summary and outcome document” that merely summarised the two days of negotiations and listed disagreements.
It noted supply chain disruption, risks to financial stability, and ongoing energy and food insecurity, saying that “most members strongly denounced the war in Ukraine and highlighted that it is increasing already-existing fragilities in the global economy and inflicting immense human misery.”
“There were other views and different assessments of the situation,” it said, referring to the sanctions imposed by the United States, European nations, and other parties to punish Russia for the invasion and deprive it of revenue.
The conclusion was similar to that of the G20 meeting in Bali last November, where the host country, Indonesia, also released a final declaration that acknowledged differences.
The G20, which was established more than 20 years ago to address economic crises, is finding it harder and harder to come to an agreement on a final statement to be released at the conclusion of each gathering.
“Although there was simply an outcome statement and not what we would call a communiqué, we still believe we have made some progress in getting all the ministers on board,” said Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s finance minister.
China’s refusal to join the declaration was deemed “regrettable” by German Finance Minister Christian Lindner.
Earlier, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the media that it was “absolutely necessary” for any statement to denounce Russia. Russia and China did not want to talk politics on the G20 platform, two delegates told the media.
Russia, a G20 member but not a G7 member, refers to its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation” instead of a “invasion” or “war.”
In general, India has kept a neutral stance, refusing to hold Russia accountable for the invasion, seeking a diplomatic resolution, and significantly increasing its purchases of Russian oil.
China and India were two of the nations that decided to abstain when the U.N. overwhelmingly voted on Thursday to demand that Moscow withdraw its forces from Ukraine and put an end to the war. Along with the G7 nations, the G20 group also consists of nations like Australia, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, a move that upends the underpinnings of the world order, is making it difficult for the G20 to have productive discussions, Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki told journalists.
The World Bank, China, India, Saudi Arabia, and the G7 met with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Saturday to discuss debt restructuring for distressed economies, although managing director Kristalina Georgieva acknowledged that there were still disagreements among the attendees.
The biggest bilateral creditor in the world, China, has come under increasing pressure from other countries to drastically reduce the amount of loans it provides to struggling developing countries.
Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun reiterated Beijing’s stance that the World Bank and other multilateral development institutions should also take part in debt relief by accepting haircuts in a video address to the G20 meeting on Friday.
At the meeting, India’s push for stricter regulation of private crypto assets won broader support.
Also Read: Willing to Solve Ukraine War by Joining Any Peace Process: PM Modi