Consensus on the G20 declaration was not an easy feat. Amitabh Kant, India's G20 sherpa, told NDTV that over 200 hours of "non-stop negotiations" were required to ensure a joint communique from G20 leaders divided over the grouping's stance on Russia's war on Ukraine.
A series of hardball negotiations by India with China, Russia and other key Western players and a strong backing by Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia to the efforts helped New Delhi achieve consensus.
According to reports, India circulated the final draft to the G20 members on Friday night, stating that if they disagreed, there would be no declaration.
Confirming the historic milestone, Kant stated that the New Delhi Declaration resulted from numerous negotiations, with consensus achieved late Friday night.
The #NewDelhiLeadersDeclaration has been officially adopted at the #G20India Leaders’ Summit! Today’s era must be marked as the golden age of human-centric globalisation & India’s G20 Presidency under the leadership of PM @narendramodi has worked tirelessly towards this goal— Amitabh Kant (@amitabhk87) September 9, 2023
The team of diplomats, including joint secretaries Eenam Gambhir and K Nagraj Naidu, held 300 bilateral meetings and circulated 15 drafts with their counterparts on the contentious Ukraine conflict to drive home a consensus that was clinched on the first day of the G20 Leaders Summit itself.
"The most complex part of the entire G20 was to bring consensus on the geopolitical paras (Russia-Ukraine). This was done over 200 hours of non-stop negotiations, 300 bilateral meetings, 15 drafts," Kant wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
The most complex part of the entire #G20 was to bring consensus on the geopolitical paras (Russia-Ukraine). This was done over 200 hours of non -stop negotiations, 300 bilateral meetings, 15 drafts. In this, I was greatly assisted by two brilliant officers - @NagNaidu08 & @eenamg pic.twitter.com/l8bOEFPP37September 10, 2023
Congress lMP Shashi Tharoor lauded Kant for hardball negotiations.
Describing it as a "proud moment for India at G20", Tharoor said, "Well done Amitabh. Looks like the IFS lost an ace diplomat when you opted for the IAS! 'Negotiated with Russia, China, only last night got the final draft,' says India's G20 Sherpa on 'Delhi Declaration' consensus".
Well done @amitabhk87! Looks lile the IFS lost an ace diplomat when you opted for the IAS! "Negotiated with Russia, China, only last night got final draft," says India's G20 Sherpa on 'Delhi Declaration' consensus.— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 9, 2023
A proud moment for India at G20! https://t.co/9M0ki7appY
Sources also told news agency PTI that India managed well in convincing China to agree to the text relating to the Ukraine conflict after the European Union concurred with the text.
G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration
On the first day of the summit on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the G20 leaders' declaration was adopted with consensus, throwing a major surprise given that both Russia-China and the West had indicated that they would not budge from their respective positions on the Ukraine conflict.
The declaration was adopted hours after the Indian side circulated among the G20 states a new text to refer to the Ukraine crisis in the draft leaders' declaration in an effort to break the impasse.
A draft of the declaration prepared on Friday, which most G20 states agreed on, left the paragraph on the "geopolitical situation" or the Ukraine crisis blank.
The negotiators from G20 states hammered out an agreement on 75 other paragraphs in the draft, including issues such as financing for climate transition, reform of multilateral development banks, and regulation of cryptocurrency.
French diplomatic sources told PTI that India has demonstrated a "kind of power and an ability to bring countries together," adding that not many countries are in a position to negotiate as New Delhi has done to take into account everyone's comments and work out a compromise proposal on the Ukraine conflict.
It was a tough negotiation and the consensus on the declaration was a great achievement by India, European sources said on the condition of anonymity.
Asked about the absence of the term "Russian aggression" on Ukraine in the declaration which figured in the Bali G20 declaration, the sources said the Western countries were satisfied with the overall outcomes.
(With agency inputs)