| 21 June 2024, Friday |

G20: China agrees to Delhi Declaration – What does it mean?

China has expressed its endorsement of the G20 Delhi Declaration, which was issued during India’s presidency of this multilateral organization. This development has ignited discussions about the complexities of global politics.
Harsh Pant, the vice president of studies and foreign policy at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), spoke to WION on the subtleties behind China’s agreement.

Underscoring that the G20 document reflects India’s position effectively, Prof Pant said, “China has been getting relatively bad press in recent months and recent times. It has been very obstructionist about the G20 process, but with India making an effort to reach out to Russia, it would have been foolhardy for China not to accept.”
“With other countries accepting most of the logic of what India was proposing, China would have been termed as a spoiler, and I don’t think China wanted to be out of the tent simply for the sake of it,” he added.

Pant stressed that China’s willingness to compromise reflects the general mood of the summit.

He suggested that India framed most of the declaration through the lens of the Global South, aligning with China’s interest in greater engagement with this region.

“China is also keen on having a greater engagement with the global south so I don’t think anything there for china to complain about in that sense and therefore China’s willingness to be onboard happened,” he said.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s at the G20 summit on Saturday (September 9) “urged all countries to respect one another, seek common ground while shelving differences”. He added that G-20 needed “unity instead of division, cooperation instead of confrontation, and inclusion instead of exclusion”.

Ukraine’s stance on Delhi Declaration
Pant also puts Ukraine’s feelings of disappointment regarding the absence of a direct condemnation of Russia into perspective.

He highlighted that the G20 is not the platform for resolving geopolitical issues. “That (condemnation of Russia) was never the point of G20 and that will never happen to a G20 platform if the war is to be resolved.”

“If Ukrainians read it carefully,” Pant noted, “they will find that the challenges that Ukraine has faced and is facing are very well represented here.”

Notably, Ukraine was mentioned for a total of four times in the document. The Delhi declaration read, “Concerning the war in Ukraine, while recalling the discussion in Bali, we reiterated our national positions and resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly (A/RES/ES-11/1 and A/RES/ES-11/6) and underscored that all states must act in a manner consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter in its entirety.”

Pant added, “The entire West, which continues to support Ukraine, was present at the G20 summit. If they have supported this document, they must have found something of value in it. G20 can only outline some of the principles through which the conflict can be resolved, and most of these principles favor Ukraine.”

India’s steadfast stance on Russia-Ukraine war
The expert also suggested that the Delhi Declaration was not as unexpected as it seemed.

“I don’t see this as any big change in India’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine issue,” Pant remarked.

“If you read the statement carefully, almost all the points India has been making about the Ukraine conflict are there. Whether it’s pertaining to territorial integrity being respected, international law and the UN, or strictly respecting territory integrity, even the known use and threat of nuclear weapons… without naming Russia a number of things would have been said that are directed at Russia so I think I don’t see any particular change in India stands on Russia-Ukraine because of the G20 document.”

Upholding international law
G20 forum noted with “deep concern the immense human suffering and the adverse impact of wars and conflicts around the world”.

“In line with the UN Charter, all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” the statement said.

It also called on “all states to uphold the principles of international law including territorial integrity and sovereignty, international humanitarian law, and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. The peaceful resolution of conflicts and efforts to address crises as well as diplomacy and dialogue are critical.”

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