In a gathering of paramount significance, leaders from the world’s preeminent economies are poised to assemble in India’s capital, New Delhi, for a pivotal two-day G20 summit commencing on September 9, 2023. This convocation, however, finds itself ensnared in a mire of multifaceted challenges, notably catalyzed by Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, prevailing concerns regarding the global economic terrain, and the inexorable specter of climate change.
India, the host nation, has endeavored to encapsulate its optimism through the evocative slogan, “One Earth, One Family, One Future.” Alas, this aspiration stands juxtaposed against the stark reality of rifts and strategic dissonance among the Group of 20 nations.
Absentees of Note: Putin and Xi Eschew Attendance
Regrettably, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have elected to abstain from partaking in this pivotal summit. Their conspicuous absence looms large over proceedings.
The G20, comprising 19 sovereign states and the European Union, collectively accounting for a substantial 85 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and a significant two-thirds of the global populace, now faces a gathering characterized by noteworthy non-participation.
Key Figures in Attendance:
Joe Biden The United States’ incumbent leader is slated to make his presence felt, carrying an agenda focused on buttressing alliances and proffering support to emerging economies. The American administration’s assessment alludes to China’s perceived struggles, a sentiment underscored by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Biden’s deliberations encompass a spectrum of issues, ranging from combatting climate change to mitigating the socio-economic ramifications of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. Notably, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen accompanies him on her fourth sojourn to India within a span of 10 months, as Washington ardently pursues a revamp of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to enhance their utility in servicing developing nations. The White House steadfastly advocates for the G20 to retain its position as the paramount global forum for economic cooperation.
Lavrov, the Surrogate for Putin: Russia’s delegation will be spearheaded by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, following President Putin’s conspicuous refusal to participate. Intriguingly, in March, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest, accusing him of war crimes in connection with the illicit deportation of Ukrainian minors. The Kremlin categorically dismisses these allegations, branding the warrant as null and void. Lavrov’s stewardship of the Russian delegation echoes his role at the recent BRICS summit held in South Africa.
Li Qiang Assumes the Mantle: China, the globe’s second-largest economy, has designated Premier Li Qiang as its emissary. This move all but confirms President Xi’s conspicuous absence from the summit. In a year marked by soaring inflation and economic turbulence stemming from a lethargic convalescence following the Covid-19 pandemic, China grapples with internal challenges, including languid consumer demand, burgeoning youth unemployment, and a beleaguered real estate sector. Notably, China’s vexing territorial dispute with India persists as a persistent thorn in bilateral relations. As the summit unfolds, India’s concurrent military exercises near the Sino-Indian border cast a shadow over diplomatic discourse.
Narendra Modi: A High-Stakes Predicament: India, the world’s most populous nation and current G20 president, perceives this summit as an opportunity to shine on the global stage. Prime Minister Narendra Modi shoulders the weighty task of fostering consensus among major powers, a pursuit rife with challenges. Disputes with China, exacerbated by recent territorial claims by Beijing, escalate tensions. India concurrently seeks to cultivate closer bonds with Western counterparts, including fellow Quad members, the United States, Japan, and Australia. Modi’s proposal to expand the G20 to include the African Union, endorsed by President Biden, underscores India’s aspiration to broaden its diplomatic horizons.
Global Representation: Eminent leaders representing the European Union, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, will be among the distinguished attendees. G7 nations will be represented by their respective heads of government, including Rishi Sunak (UK), Justin Trudeau (Canada), Fumio Kishida (Japan), and Giorgia Meloni (Italy). The Asia-Pacific region will be represented by dignitaries such as Indonesian President Joko Widodo, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also anticipated. South Africa, the sole African nation within the G20, will be led by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez are expected, though Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s participation remains uncertain according to Indian media reports. Distinguished guests, including United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and leaders of the IMF and the World Bank, shall grace this august gathering. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Nigerian President Bola Tinubu are also among the notable figures set to be in attendance.
Intriguing Dynamics Unfold
As the world’s most influential leaders prepare to convene, a complex tapestry of geopolitical intricacies and economic imperatives unfolds. The G20 summit in New Delhi emerges as a crucible for dialogue and diplomacy, one that promises to shape the contours of global cooperation in an era fraught with challenges.