10th September 2023,Mumbai: India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant reflects on the challenges and triumphs of preparing for the 18th leaders’ summit in New Delhi.
Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa, recently revealed the herculean efforts put forth by the team of Indian diplomats in preparing for the 18th leaders’ summit in New Delhi. Kant described his fellow counterparts from various countries as the toughest and most professional negotiators in the world, highlighting the sleepless nights he endured during the negotiation process. This article delves into the complexities of these negotiations and the successful consensus achieved in the G20 declaration.
The Grueling Negotiation Process
Kant shared his admiration for his counterparts, stating that they gave him the most challenging time of his life. The team of Indian diplomats, led by Kant and including joint secretaries Eenam Gambhir and Nagaraj Naidu Kakanur, embarked on a daunting task. They engaged in over 300 bilateral meetings and worked tirelessly on 15 drafts to address the contentious issue of the Ukraine conflict. Their goal was to reach a consensus that could be adopted by world leaders at the high-level conclave in New Delhi.
The Geopolitical Challenge: Russia-Ukraine
Among the numerous complexities of the G20 negotiations, the most challenging was achieving consensus on the geopolitical aspects, particularly concerning the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Kant revealed that this part of the negotiations required over 200 hours of non-stop effort, highlighting the dedication of the Indian diplomats. These painstaking efforts and extensive diplomatic engagement were crucial in ensuring that the G20 declaration remained a balanced and impactful document.
A Proud Moment for India
Amitabh Kant’s tireless work and the successful negotiation of the G20 declaration garnered praise from various quarters. Shashi Tharoor, a Congress MP, lauded Kant’s dedication and referred to the adoption of the negotiation as a “proud moment for India at G20.” He commended Kant’s diplomatic prowess and acknowledged the complexity of negotiating with major powers like Russia and China.
A Call for International Cooperation
The G20 declaration, shaped by these arduous negotiations, addressed critical global issues. It notably avoided explicit mention of the Russian invasion of Ukraine but emphasized the importance of upholding international law, including territorial integrity and sovereignty. The declaration called upon all states to respect these principles, emphasizing the significance of international humanitarian law and the multilateral system in maintaining global peace and stability.
Crucial Developments at the G20 Summit
The opening day of the 18th G20 Summit witnessed several pivotal developments. The African Union was formally inducted into the group, signaling a commitment to inclusivity and collaboration. Additionally, a biofuel alliance was established, highlighting the global focus on sustainable energy solutions. Furthermore, the announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IECC EC) showcased India’s dedication to fostering economic connectivity and regional cooperation.
India’s G20 Presidency: A Year of Comprehensive Engagement
India’s presidency of the G20, which began on December 1, 2022, was marked by extensive engagement. Throughout the year, India hosted approximately 200 meetings related to the G20 across the country, covering a wide range of priority areas. These meetings involved ministers, senior officials, and civil society representatives, contributing to the groundwork leading up to the 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi. The summit served as the culmination of these efforts, demonstrating India’s commitment to addressing global challenges and fostering international cooperation.
The preparation for the 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi was a monumental undertaking that showcased the resilience and dedication of Indian diplomats, led by Amitabh Kant. Their relentless efforts and meticulous negotiations resulted in a G20 declaration that addressed crucial global issues and upheld the principles of international law. India’s presidency of the G20 was marked by comprehensive engagement, and the summit served as a testament to India’s commitment to playing a leading role on the global stage.
-by Kashvi Gala