New Delhi: Top diplomats from the world’s major industrialized and developing nations grappled Thursday with deepening rifts in their ranks as they held contentious talks dominated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s moves to boost its global influence.
Host India appealed for all members of the fractured Group of 20 to reach consensus on issues of deep concern to poorer countries even if the broader East-West split over Ukraine cannot be resolved.
And while others, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, chose to highlight their positive roles in addressing world crises, the divide was palpable.
In a video address to the assembled foreign ministers in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged them not to allow current tensions to destroy agreements that might be reached on food and energy security, climate change and debt.
“We are meeting at a time of deep global divisions,” PM Modi told the group, which included Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and their Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, whose discussions would naturally be “affected by the geopolitical tensions of the day.”
“We all have our positions and our perspectives on how these tensions should be resolved,” he said, adding that: “We should not allow issues that we cannot resolve together to come in the way of those we can.”
In a nod to fears that the increasingly bitter rift between the United States and its allies on one side and Russia and China on the other appears likely to widen further, PM Modi said that “multilateralism is in crisis today.”
He lamented that the two main goals of the post-World War II international order — preventing conflict and fostering cooperation — were elusive. “The experience of the last two years, financial crisis, pandemic, terrorism and wars clearly shows that global governance has failed in both its mandates,” he said.
Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar then addressed the group in person, telling them that they “must find common ground and provide direction.”