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Bali was Bali and New Delhi is New Delhi: Jaishankar on reference to Ukraine in G20 declaration

'I think the New Delhi Declaration responds to the situation and concerns as it is today, just as the Bali Declaration did in a situation which was there a year ago'

PTI New Delhi Published 10.09.23, 09:09 AM
S Jaishankar

S Jaishankar File image

The G20 leaders' declaration avoided mentioning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and made a general call to all states to follow the principle of respecting each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, in what is largely seen as a climbdown by the Western powers on the conflict.

India managed to hammer out an unexpected consensus among the G20 countries on the contentious issue through a series of hectic negotiations with emerging economies such as Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia playing a leading role in reaching the breakthrough.

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Sources said these three countries also helped in drafting the text that drew every member nation's approval.

The declaration issued at the G20's Bali summit last November had deplored in the strongest terms the Russian aggression against Ukraine while most members strongly condemned the war.

"With regard to the comparison with the Bali Declaration, I would only say Bali was Bali and New Delhi is New Delhi. I mean, Bali was a year ago," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said at a media briefing.

"The situation was different. Many things have happened since then. And in fact, If you see in the geo-political segment of the leaders' declaration, there are, in total, eight paragraphs, seven of which actually focus on the Ukraine issue," he said.

"I think one should not have a theological view of this. I think the New Delhi Declaration responds to the situation and concerns as it is today, just as the Bali Declaration did in a situation which was there a year ago." The New Delhi G20 Declaration refers only to the "war in Ukraine" and notes with "deep concern the immense human suffering and the adverse impact of wars and conflicts around the world." In reference to the Ukraine conflict, it also has a line that "there were different views and assessments of the situation." Asked about this line, Jaishankar said it was only right to record what was the "reality".

"On the phrase about having different viewpoints and assessments, I think we are being transparent. It is a fact, this (Ukraine conflict) is today a very polarising issue," he said.

"There are multiple views on this. There is a spectrum of views on this. So I think in all fairness, it was only right to record what was the reality in the meeting rooms and I think that is the sense that is sought to be captured," Jaishankar said.

Asked about the absence of the term "Russian aggression" on Ukraine in the declaration which figured in the Bali G20 declaration, European diplomatic sources said the Western countries were satisfied with the overall outcomes.

Both Russia and China had agreed to the two paragraphs on the Ukraine conflict in the Bali declaration, but they backtracked from it this year creating difficulties for India.

The external affairs minister said considerable time was spent, especially in the last few days with regard to the "geo-political issues".

"It is a declaration of 83 paragraphs. It has a lot of content. There are a lot of subjects which have been covered," he said.

"Obviously, because of the ongoing conflict and strong views about it, considerable time was spent, especially in the last few days in regard to geo-political issues which really centred around the war in Ukraine," he said.

Asked who specifically helped in forging the consensus, Jaishankar said, "Eventually, everybody helped because everybody came together for the consensus. I think the emerging markets took a particular lead on this, and many of us have a strong history of working together," he said.

"Bear in mind that actually, you have four developing countries in succession as G20 presidents -- Indonesia, India, Brazil and South Africa," he said.

"But I would say rather than who helped, the point to be recognised is that a common landing point was ultimately fashioned out," he added.

Jaishankar also said, "The G20 has contributed to making India world-ready and the world India-ready." "The declaration the leaders have agreed on today focuses on promoting strong sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. It seeks to accelerate progress on SDGs and has come up with an action plan accordingly," he said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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