G20: From ‘war against' to ‘war in' Ukraine, Delhi declaration softens language on Russia-Ukraine conflict
Calling the new declaration at New Delhi's G20 summit under India's presidency "nothing to be proud of", Ukraine expressed unhappiness at no mention of Russia
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other world leaders announced the adoption of the New Delhi Leaders Declaration at the G20 summit on Saturday, 9 September, a document that talks about war, battling climate change, the fight against terrorism and fair trade, among other important issues.
But as India and the other leaders of the G20 grouping hailed the adoption of the Delhi declaration, Ukraine was unhappy with the outcome of the document, stating it was “nothing to be proud of” and criticising the leaders for not mentioning Russia.
Though the declaration does mention Ukraine's current situation, it only broadly touches upon the human suffering caused by the conflict in Ukraine, mentioning how it affects things like food, energy and the economy globally.
It does not speak of Russia's culpability in the way Ukraine and possibly the rest of the EU might have hoped.
Ukraine also noticed that compared to a similar document from last year (the Bali Declaration), the language in the Delhi Declaration is not as strong, referring to the 'war in Ukraine', indicating its conflict with Russia. Last year's declaration had condemned the 'war against Ukraine', implying it was perpetrated by Russia.
Ukraine's foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko posted a screenshot of the relevant section of the G20 declaration, striking out several parts of the text in red, and 'correcting' the wording to what Ukraine would view as desirable and honest truth.
While Ukraine wasn't entirely satisfied with the declaration, it did thank the countries that supported it and tried to include stronger language in the document.
Incidentally, despite the sanctions in place against Russia, the G7 countries and the European Union (EU) also seem to have softened their language compared to what they said in the Bali Declaration.
Acknowledging the geopolitical issues, the Delhi Declaration stated, 'While the G20 is not the platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues, we acknowledge that these issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.'
Along the same lines, the Indian sherpa Amitabh Kant commented that ''G20 is a forum for discussing issues of growth and development'' and the only reason the Ukraine conflict was discussed in Bali last year was because ''it was felt that war and conflict impacted economy and growth''.
That leaves us open to the question of why that same argument is suddenly irrelevant this year, of course, particularly in the context of Russia's recent withdrawal of support to Ukraine via the Black Sea Grain Initiative as well as its targeting of granaries and warehouses in Ukraine.
With inputs from IANS