Hot on the heels of the G20 summit, which the Russian leader skipped, President Vladimir Putin has been busy hosting the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
The two leaders have discussed “possible” military cooperation, according to Putin, and Russian news agencies have quoted Kim as saying that the country will win its “holy struggle” in the special military operation, referring to the Russia-Ukraine war.
This strong development comes against the backdrop of the recent G20 summit held in Delhi.
You Can Also Read: Putin and Kim: 2023’s Geopolitical Romance
The summit grabbed headlines as India’s successful diplomacy win, as all the world leaders agreed upon a joint declaration that included wording related to the Russia-Ukraine war.
So, what has the G20 summit really achieved?
A diplomatic win
“Useful, not spectacular,” says Hung Tran, a senior geoeconomics expert at the US-based Atlantic Council thinktank. “The results will bolster India’s claims to be the voice of the global South.”
Tran says the summit has “delivered practically everything Modi had wanted” but there are compromises – including the consensus declaration without any direct mention of Russia in the war against Ukraine.
Kapil Sharma disagrees.
The senior director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Centre, Sharma says, “This summit was not about how diplomacy has been done, but rather how diplomacy can be done.” In the end, India’s diplomacy demonstrated its ability to take on current geopolitical disagreements, he adds.
Does it underscore India’s diplomatic achievement as far as the joint communique is concerned?
Many don’t think so.
“It took exhausted Indian diplomats 200 hours of non-stop negotiations, 300 bilateral meetings, and 15 drafts,” says Patrick Wintour, diplomatic editor of British daily, The Guardian. “In the end, the G20 countries reached a consensus.”
The watered-down communique is extraordinary. But is it also be interpreted as a compromise tilted more in favour of Russia against Ukraine?
According to Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, “The text doesn’t mention Russia at all. We were able to prevent the West’s attempt to ‘Ukrainise’ the summit agenda.”
Bangladesh basking in G20 glory
The G20 summit was clearly a big win for Bangladesh.
Prime Minister not only participated in the leaders’ summit but also held several bilateral meetings with world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the action-packed week, PM Hasina also hosted Lavrov and French President Emmanuel Macron as both made separate visits to Dhaka.
Among other diplomatic highlights of the G20 summit, a major one was President Biden clicking a selfie with PM Hasina and her daughter Saima Wazed.
It came at a time when the US has been vocal in being apprehensive about Bangladesh’ general elections. In May, the US Department of State announced visa restrictions against Bangladeshis who it said, undermined the democratic election process.
Biden’s viral smiling selfie, therefore, turned the tables around for PM Hasina who has been facing increasing pressure from opposition parties back home.
Adding to the viral visuals was British PM Rishi Sunak kneeling down while talking to PM Hasina.
Analysts have interpreted PM Hasina’s engagements with world leaders at the G20 summit as further boosting her image on a global platform as a progressive and well-respected leader. “Bangladesh drew attention from global powers and the PM strengthened bilateral relations with key global players,” many point out.
Bangladesh, under PM Hasina, has also registered a growth rate of 6.03% in 2022-23 and is geared to exit the list of least developed scountries by 2026.
What else did New Delhi’s G20 achieve?
The India summit was amongst the most expensive global meetings of all time, costing around Rs 4,100 crore, but coming after other countries such as China, which spent Rs 1.9 lakh crore ($24 billion) in the 2016 G20 summit.
But there were several outcomes that will certainly shake up the world economy.
To begin with, an economic corridor linking India, the Middle East and Europe via rail and sea was unveiled, which is expected to make trade between India and Europe nearly 40% faster.
You Can Also Read: Exclusive Live: 18th G20 Summit in Delhi
Hailed by the US President Joe Biden as “a real big deal”, the corridor is being seen by many experts as a direct challenge to China’s Belt and Road initiative.
Another major announcement was to include the African Union as a permanent member of the G20. The 55-member bloc represents the world’s largest free trade area, and with its inclusion, experts believe the G20 will have a bigger voice of the global South.
While these two major accomplishments overshadowed media headlines, the not-so-exciting outcome of the 2023 G20 summit was related to climate change. Maybe COP28 will offer a deeper perspective into climate-related global decisions, but for what it’s worth, the G20 summit only came out with an agreement to pursue tripling renewable energy by 2030, and to cut down on coal power. But there was no clarity on the path or plan they would take to achieve these goals.
As part of the clean energy push, India also launched, the global biofuels alliance. The initiative seeks to accelerate global trade in biofuels derived from sources including plant and animal waste.
According to Professor Prabir De, a foreign policy expert at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) think tank, “other major outcomes from the sidelines of the summit were the India-US defence, trade, and tech agreements”. In their over 50-minute talks, India PM Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden deliberated on cooperation in defence, nuclear energy, emerging and critical tech such as artificial intelligence and 6G.
Saudi Arabia and India also signed over 50 agreements at an investment forum following the G20 summit.
Clearly, Modi has boosted his standing as he seeks a third term in office, according to a Reuters analysis report. “To his supporters, the successful outcome of the summit showed India’s big moment had arrived.”