Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday hailed the New Delhi Declaration of the G20 members, saying it “undoubtedly” represents “a diplomatic triumph for India”.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Mr Tharoor said, “The Delhi Declaration is undoubtedly a diplomatic triumph for India. It’s a good achievement because right until the G20 summit was being convened, the widespread expectation was there would be no agreement and, that, therefore, a joint communique might not be possible, and, that we might have to end up with a chairman’s summary.”
On Saturday, on the opening day of the G20 summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a consensus had been built on the New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit Declaration before formally announcing its adoption.
Prime Minister Modi, who chaired G20 sessions through the day, congratulated the Sherpas and ministers for working towards arriving at a common ground and eventually building a consensus among all G20 members and other stakeholders.
Tharoor further praised India for bringing all member states to a consensus on the New Delhi Declaration.
“The main reason (for lack of a consensus on the statement) was the big gulf between those who wanted a condemnation of the Russian war in Ukraine and those, like Russia and China, who wanted no mention whatsoever of that subject. India was able to find a formula to bridge that gap and that is a significant diplomatic achievement because when there is a Summit without a joint communique, it is always seen as a setback for the chairman,” Mr Tharoor added.
On the conduct of the G20 summit under India’s presidency, Tharoor said the government actually made it a ‘people’s G20’, adding that it was also an attempt by the “ruling party” (BJP) to turn the mega huddle of world leaders into an “asset” for themselves.
“Things that were remarkable about the government’s conduct of the presidency was that they did something that no previous G20 presidency has done. They actually made it a nationwide event, 200 meetings in 58 cities with huge amount of action, they converted the G20 into a sort of people G20. With public events, the university connect programmes, civil societies, all these things were done under our presidency. That is in some ways both a credit to India for taking a message of G20 to the entire people. But it was also an attempt by the ruling party to instrumentalize the G20 as something that would turn out to be an asset for them,” Mr Tharoor said.
Prime Minister Modi, while announcing the conclusion of the G20 summit on Sunday, proposed to hold a virtual G20 session in November to review the suggestions and proposals made at the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
On that, Mr Tharoor said, “They have every right to do that, they are the ruling party. Many countries have hosted the G20 event, but never a ruling party has celebrated its leadership in such a way, the whole Vishwaguru concept, the posters of Mr Modi every 50 meters in Delhi. All of these are advertising the G20 as if it was the personal achievement of Mr Modi and the BJP government and that I think has raised some eyebrows.”
Before declaring that the summit closed, PM Modi handed over the ceremonial gavel of the Group of 20 presidency to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
India assumed the G20 presidency on December 1 last year and about 200 meetings related to G20 were organised in 60 cities across the country.
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