Get Involved

Bharat pulls it off

As G-20 President, Bharat achieved the impossible with New Delhi declaration, exclusive economic corridor to rival China, bio-fuel alliance & African Union induction to push for Global South.


Off late, the moniker ‘Global South’ resonated in these parts of the world with Bharat pushing for thrust on developing and least developed countries hitherto grouped as G-77.


Security analysts in particular were not very gung-ho on having this group as the biggest focus of Indian G-20 Presidency given that the block had China with extreme and expansionist plans.

But, if G-20 New Delhi declaration adopted by global leaders on Friday ahead of schedule is any indication, Bharat’s Presidium ambitions, strategy and thrust seems to have worked around ‘very fine balance’.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and tenacity carried the day contrary to western analysts’ summation that New Delhi leaders’ summit was a ‘wash out’ and there would be no ‘declaration’. They pointed to deep divide between Western leaders and China – Russia standing their ground on Ukraine war.

Bharat and Modi seems to have achieved virtually the impossible with hundred per cent consensus on 83 paragraphs longish declaration that was approved by Presidents and Prime Ministers. And, Modi hit the gavel signalling a fruitful deal of ‘healing, harmony and hope’.


This proved many Western analysts wrong as they seem to have under-estimated Bharat’s leadership, Modi’s affable nature and posturing at G-20 that accounts for 85 per cent economic output and 75 per cent world trade.

Several commentators had seen the latest declaration as a ‘climb down’ for the Western powers giving Russia the leeway or letting it off easily on Ukraine. That may not be the case.

The US and Europe may have taken a tactical one step backwards while consenting the declaration including key lines on ‘war in Ukraine’. In fact, New Delhi declaration is an extension of what was clinched at Bali in November last year.

Finding ground to clinch a ‘declaration’, keep the G-20 relevant and kicking, could be one interpretation. Not having a declaration was perhaps not an option or in the best interest of the global economies that are dangerously struggling to keep afloat in aftermath of Covid 19.

Thirdly, the declaration demonstrates Bharat’s heft to move world powers. Fourthly, personal bonding Prime Minister Modi established with world leaders seems to have worked wonders in taking forward an ambitious economic and development agenda that’s inclusive and ambitious.

Fourthly, western powers seem to have not lost the message after last minute pull out of Chinese President Xi Jingping from New Delhi summit. In fact, this led to acerbic comments from US President Joe Biden that Beijing had the option of being a ‘spoilsport’.


Fifthly, world community especially the Western Europe and US could not have ignored finalizing a roadmap to pressing issues like poverty alleviation, transition to green energy, restructuring debt of several poor countries that have become bankrupt and digital public infrastructure and crypto currencies etc.

Sixthly, Bharat stood like a solid rock in balancing countries, groups and blocks aspirations especially the G-7 and BRICS, Russia and China that led to virtual pulling apart of G-20 summit.

Seventhly, let’s not forget that China got taste of its own medicine with announcement of Bharat, Middle East, Europe rail and roads spread economic corridor that includes United States. India, US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany and Italy heads standing together to announce this huge infrastructure driven economic project is neither insignificant nor symbolic. It rivals the now jinxed Belt and Road initiative of China that pushed several developing countries into bankruptcy under unsustainable debt burden.

The project envisages establishing rail, road and under-sea data connectivity lines from Mumbai to Western Europe running through shipping lines to Europe. This direct challenge to China comes at a time Belt and Road Initiative tenth anniversary is being celebrated by Beijing. Interestingly enough, the stakeholders in Bharat, Middle East and EU economic corridor will come up with roadmap for the project in 60-days along with funding plans. Apart from China angle, Bharat may not have to depend on yet another uneasy neighbour, Pakistan to establish over land and under-sea linkages with Europe.

In the melee of Ukraine war centric conversation, induction of 55-member African Union into G-20 may have gone off very lightly. But, its significance is too huge to ignore. Bharat playing a key role in bringing African Union on board the coveted club is something to write home about.

This is the first time that G-20 got into expansion mode after its formation in 1999. Most importantly, African Union will be a full permanent member of G-20 and equals the status enjoyed exclusively by 27-members European Union block till now. African Union’s induction into G-20 also explains India voicing the ‘Global South’ moniker in recent times.

Yet another interesting outcome is setting up of bio-fuels alliance on the lines of International Solar Alliance which provides sharper focus to energy consumption transition especially in transport services and households globally. The 19-countries group is expected to push for shift in environment friendly alternative and environment friendly fuels in an effort to decarbonize economic expansion happening globally.

G-20 Presidency, tactical positioning, hard play in diplomacy, soft showcasing of Bharat’s cultural, civilizational and philosophical connect with humanity apart from hard gains made from the leaders’ summit will ring in for long.

(Author is Director & Chief Executive, Centre for Integrated and Holistic Studies, a New Delhi based non-partisan think tank)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *