This short take was written by Bluebird Managing Editor Kieran Hurwood.
8th-10th September - Last weekend, the G20 Conference 2023 took off in New Delhi, India. After years of preparation for the summit with signs erected across the country in India’s major cities, the ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ slogan placed significant focus on climate change and global inclusion as the key themes of the conference.
PM Narendra Modi of India has taken full domestic advantage of the situation, taking the opportunity to tout India as a returning world power among a rising global south. Foreign commentary on Modi’s use of the conference has focused on his growing personality cult on TV and billboards across the country, as well as renewed nationalism ahead of the 2024 election. This included potential hints at an unlikely international name change for India to ‘Bharat’.
Biden and the broader West have sought to use the opportunity to resettle the global economy after a tough year imposing Russian sanctions. In addition, some European and North American leaders are reportedly keen to ensure that democracy in India continues to be resilient after warnings about backsliding from several NGOs. Given India’s lukewarm relationship with Russia and continued purchase of cheap Russian oil, NATO states are keen to keep the world’s largest democracy on side.
A full declaration condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine was always unlikely given that Russia and China are both members of the G20. However, other progress among several countries on bilateral trade deals and the ratification of the African Union (AU) as a new member of the G20 reflects that limited commonalities can still be found even in a world of conflict and new economic boundaries.