At the end of the G-20 Foreign Ministers’ Summit held in New Delhi, the capital of India, the final text could not be published due to differences of opinion on Ukraine. The meeting was a preparation for the G-20 Leaders’ Summit, which was planned to be held in the same city in September. The success of the meeting was also a matter of prestige for India, which wanted to increase its international profile by evaluating the West’s policies that tried to distance China in recent years. Disagreements between the West and Russia and China over the Ukraine issue prevented Indian Prime Minister Modi’s call to “focus on common points, not differences” from being answered. The fact that the final text could not be published despite Modi’s efforts indicates that the international system crisis will continue to deepen.
Hosting the G-20 summit, India has been trying to be the voice of the ‘Global South’ in recent years, with the perception of a large country given its 1.3 billion population. India is trying to take the lead in developing countries that are most affected by problems such as the international food crisis and inflation. Trying to fill the gaps created by the crises between the West and the Russian-Chinese line, the leader of India, Prime Minister Modi, drew attention to the crisis of the international system and did not refrain from criticizing the West. Arguing that the financial crisis, climate change, terrorism and wars in recent years have shown that international governance has failed, Modi said that rich states are responsible for global warming and that developing countries are the most affected.
Modi, who was stated to have made a special effort in the preparation of the G-20 final declaration in Bali last year, could not show the same success at the meeting in New Delhi. The lack of response to Modi’s call to put the differences aside, who is stated to use the G-20 summit as India’s playing a global role in domestic politics, indicates how deep a global divide the Ukraine war has created. It is known that India, which both the Trump and Biden administrations see as a critical country in the fight against China, is trying to maintain a balanced policy similar to Türkiye on Ukraine. India, which continues its energy purchases by not participating in the sanctions against Russia, also wants to present itself to the West as an alternative country to China.
In line with the Indo-Pacific policy, the Biden administration is trying to break China’s economic influence by deepening its relations with many countries around China. It is known that the pressures of both the Trump and Biden administrations on American large companies to move away from China also partially yielded results. For example, it was announced that Foxconn, the giant manufacturer of the latest iPhone parts in China, will establish a new factory in India. For Washington’s policy of both isolating Russia and shrinking China’s space to succeed, it needs countries like India. Since countries like India are aware of this, they are trying to seize opportunities both to make room for themselves and to have a say in the global system.
The fact that the differences of opinion on Ukraine are not limited to the political field stands out as the most important reason for the debacle of the final declaration. Sanctions have a great role in the failure of the G-20, which is the most effective international platform focusing on economic solutions in the fight against global problems, to reach a common point. Economic sanctions, which the West has frequently used against both Russia and China in recent years, deteriorate relations on the one hand and are ineffective in being a deterrent on the other. The fact that Russia and China develop good relations with the countries of the “Global South” also plays an important role in the ineffectiveness of such economic pressures. Therefore, it becomes impossible to implement a global agenda on which the most powerful countries in the G-20 cannot agree, and to find a solution global problems.
It is possible to see the depth of the disagreement between the American-led West and the Russian-Chinese alliance in the 10-minute conversation between Foreign Minister Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. We are living in a period of disintegration in which it is not even possible for the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, who can negotiate even in the most difficult times and have no difficulty in maintaining the international disarmament agreements in the past, to come together. The “Ukraine peace plan” announced by China, which claims to mediate, neither takes an important step to bring Russia to the table nor does it have a serious buyer in the West. Despite all the disagreements and crises in the past, it is possible to say that diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia have not weakened that much. The fact that the Blinken-Lavrov walk-in meeting focused only on the demands of the U.S. shows that the two countries have difficulty even establishing diplomatic contacts, let alone solving global problems.
This whole picture shows that Russia’s attempt to invade Ukraine has caused Putin’s Russia to experience a sharp break with the West. The fact that while the great powers are expected to create a common agenda to combat global problems and produce economic solutions in platforms such as the G-20, they cannot talk to each other and cannot issue a final declaration underlines this rupture. Are we moving towards a new Cold War between the West and Russia-China in the upcoming period, or will the efforts of countries like India to reduce tensions be successful? It is not easy to answer this question, but it is certain that the outcome of the war in Ukraine will play a decisive role in any case.