Deep divisions on the Russia-Ukraine conflict have cast a shadow on the possibility of G20 leaders agreeing on a joint communique at the end of the two-day summit in Delhi on Sunday even as India continues to make efforts to take everyone along and “leaving none behind”.

“Tough negotiations are happening at the official level on the communique as the G7 countries and the EU are insisting on calling for an end to Russia’s war against Ukraine and also naming Moscow as the aggressor. Russia and China, however, want no mention of the war. If India is not able to work out a compromise, a joint communique is out of the question,” the source said.

Main agenda

The main agenda for the annual meeting of the G20 countries in Delhi includes climate change, economic development and debt burdens in low-income countries as well as inflation including food and fertilizers. On each of these issues, there are deep divisions among the participants with the Russia-Ukraine war causing a major schism between Russia and China at one end and the Western Block on the other.

New Delhi, however, remains hopeful of positive outcomes from the Summit, including a possible announcement of a `global biofuel alliance’, that will seek to facilitate co-operation and intensify the use of sustainable biofuels, and advancement of issues relevant to the `Global South’, including development finance and climate finance, according to sources tracking the development.

Bright spot

Another likely achievement for India in its G20 Presidency is the possibility of the African Union getting full membership of the G20, the source added. “One bright spot in the G20 negotiations is the overall acceptance of India’s support for inclusion of the African Union in the G20. In all likelihoods it would get through,” the source said.

On the issue of resolution of debilitating debts of certain developing countries, for instance Sri Lanka, which is high on India’s agenda, there has been so far limited success in the negotiations. “While most countries are agreeable to discussing debt restructuring, some, including the EU, want that not only state owned banks debt, but also that of commercial banks should be taken up. Some others, like China, may have problems with it,” the source said.

India also hopes to forge consensus on a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and reach some agreement on reforms in multilateral banks.

“If there is no agreement on a joint communique, then consensus or agreements in other areas would lose the punch. However, India is trying its best that at least during the negotiations it can help members narrow their differences in important areas,” the source added.

Biofuel alliance

Announcement of a ‘global biofuel alliance’, which has been one of the priorities under India’s G20 Presidency, could be an area of big gain for India, the source said. 

The proposed alliance will place emphasis on strengthening markets, facilitating global biofuels trade, development of concrete policy lesson-sharing and provision of technical support for national biofuels programs worldwide.