The Indian G20 presidency scored in symbolism and in substance by becoming the emphatic voice of the Global South. Despite the geopolitical divide, pushing for the global common good to achieve outcomes is the way forward
SETTING THE TONE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the Delhi Declaration, Sept. 9
Before the G20 summit in New Delhi began, there was, as Shakespeare put it, a tide in the affairs of men. The global order lay fractured. Divided by the Ukraine War. Split over how to tackle the adverse impact of climate change. Torn asunder by a pandemic that ravaged lives and economies. Disunited on how to conduct world trade. Bisected by the tech haves and have-nots. Dissected into income groups and development indices. The cleavages were deep and glaringly stark. But amidst all this gloom and doom, the most powerful grouping of world leaders had a choice. To paraphrase the Bard, taken at the flood, it could pull the world towards harmony, healing, hope and prosperity. If not, then with the Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping deciding to skip the summit, the Indian presidency of the G20 would have faced the grave prospect of omitting a consensus declaration from the leaders. That would have signalled a failure and cheered India’s detractors but led to greater global strife and misery.