NEW DELHI: India on Saturday scripted history and stamped its authority on the global stage, securing a consensus on more than 100 issues on the agenda, including the most contentious one, the Russia-Ukraine war, as G20 leaders adopted the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration.
“United in consensus and spirit, we pledge to work collaboratively for a better, more prosperous and harmonious future.My gratitude to all fellow G20 members for their support and cooperation,”PM Modi said in a post after the 34-page declaration was adopted following what India’s sherpa Amitabh Kant said were “tense, ruthless negotiations” for over 200 hours. PM Modi‘s assertion that “this is not the era of war”, which was echoed by the Bali Declaration, was part of this declaration as well.
The breakthrough was facilitated by India’s success in enlisting the support of the emerging economies of Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, and after it invoked the name of PM Modi to bluntly put across the message that there was no more time to be wasted. “Eventually, we had to tell them that our leader wants it, and it has to be delivered,” Kant said. TOI broke the story online a little after 1pm Saturday.The significance of the declaration stretched far beyond getting the opposite sides to agree to a compromise formulation over Ukraine. It attested to India’s growing geopolitical heft, with the nations embracing the priorities flagged by Modi. India’s G20 sherpa counted multiple gains for the members – an ambitious green development agenda, including a cut in emissions and a jump in finance, and accelerating progress on sustainable development goals through focus on health and education. In short, a rich trophy cabinet.
Delhi Declaration boosts India’s status as leader of Global South
The New Delhi Declaration catapults India’s status as the leader of the Global South, particularly after it successfully pushed the inclusion of the 55-member African Union as a permanent member of the group. The accomplishment, amplified by PM Modi’s warm embrace of AU chair and Comoros President Azali Assoumani in the opening session, blunted some of the influence that China wields in the African continent.
Live updates: G20 Summit New Delhi
The admission of AU in the G20 marks the biggest-ever inclusion of developing countries to a powerful grouping in a single stroke, and can pay dividends when an increasingly bold India steps up its bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Taken together with the connectivity project IMEC India signed with the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the EU, the summit brought out India’s willingness to play for higher geopolitical stakes and in a larger arena.
The pickings look even more unusual, considering that it is still not easy to chip away at the agenda-setting prerogative of the rich and powerful countries: the global elite.

China, which opted to send its Premier Li Qiang to the summit, must be regretting seeing a Modi-led India, helped by the churn in global geopolitics which has seen a massive erosion in trust in Beijing and its ability to sway foreign capitals, seize the geopolitical moment that came its way.
While most issues had been sealed before the leaders arrived, a deal was held up due to differences between the US and Saudi Arabia on the climate issue. However, it was the formulation over the Ukraine conflict that turned out to be the biggest obstacle, at one stage even the potential deal-breaker, with Russia and China not relenting to their opposition to the mention for which Moscow has widely been blamed. On the other hand, the US and other countries insisted on strong language condemning Russia for the war.


Historic! Consensus reached, G20 leaders adopt New Delhi leaders declaration, announces PM Modi

“This is a declaration of 83 paras, there are a lot of subjects covered, but obviously, because of the ongoing conflict and the different views on it, considerable time was spent in the last few days with regard to geopolitical issues which were mostly centred around the war in Ukraine,” foreign minister S Jaishankar said at a press conference.
Bridging the gap was an uphill task and the sherpas negotiated till early Saturday morning to arrive at a text which was acceptable to all. India also marshalled a coalition of emerging markets, including Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa to work at stitching together a consensus.

“There were very tough, ruthless negotiations that went on. In the end, the issue was clinched because of the leadership of the Prime Minister. Eventually, we had to say, the leader wants it, and this has to be delivered,” India’s G20 sherpa Amitabh Kant said.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman separately counted 10 areas which will help the G20 membership, including India, ranging from the reform of multilateral development banks to a plan to regulate crypto assets.
“It has been very clear (since the beginning) that we should ensure that no one is left behind in our pursuit of global solutions. So, we have endeavoured to support countries, especially those from the Global South be an integral part of the global decision-making process… As I look back at the 10 months of Indian presidency, I am left with gratitude and satisfaction, I can confidently state that the Indian G20 presidency has walked the talk,” she told reporters.

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