Ukraine war to dominate G20 meeting in India amid deepening East-West divide

New Delhi, Mar 1 (EFE).- Russia’s war in Ukraine is likely to dominate this week’s meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies’ top diplomats in India amid growing disagreements over the crisis and its global implications.

The lack of consensus on how to define the Russian invasion of Ukraine culminated in no joint statement at the close of a meeting of G20 finance chiefs over the weekend in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru.

Asked if the situation would be repeated, India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra told reporters on Wednesday that it was inappropriate for him to “pre-judge the outcome” at the end of the G20 foreign ministers’ conference in New Delhi.

“I think we should let plenipotentiaries of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting decide that on their own,” Kwatra said.

The two-day G20 foreign ministers meeting begins on Wednesday evening, but the main session will take place on Thursday.

The foreign secretary said given the developing situation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it was likely to occupy the center stage of the meeting.

“Clearly, the foreign ministers would also focus on the ongoing situation in Russia, between Russia and Ukraine,” he said.

He said it was important for the foreign ministers to not just focus on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but also on its impact on the rest of the world, particularly the economy, development, and the challenges that the developing nations faced.

“I think those are equally important to focus on of course along with the Ukraine-Russia conflict.”

The Indian diplomat noted that as the G20 host country this year, India was “very clear that the foreign ministers should focus on all the priorities that are currently relevant in the global context.”

India will try to promote the debate on energy and food security and the challenges to combat terrorism as priorities for the meeting.

The issues are significant to India as it aspires to become “the voice of the Global South.”

However, the widening East-West gulf, particularly over the Ukraine crisis, is likely to impede any consensus.

At the meeting in New Delhi, the foreign minister of China, Russia, and the United States are likely to complicate with their competing positions the adoption of a unanimous framework that helps the cessation of hostilities between Moscow and Kyiv.

India on the other hand has on several occasions highlighted its neutral position in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, despite pressure from the US and the European Union.

The South Asian power remains one of the few nations that deepened alliances with Moscow in the aftermath of the war.

The close ties Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi maintains with Russia are sometimes seen as an implicit support of Moscow’s military aggression in Ukraine.

But Modi has also expressed his concern over the escalation of the conflict and advocated to end the hostilities.

The foreign secretary said Modi had made India’s position about the Russia-Ukraine conflict clear.

“This is not the era of war,” he repeated Modi’s words telling Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a regional security bloc summit in Uzbekistan last year.

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