Reaching consensus on Delhi declaration to inducting African Union: Two big triumphs on day one of the G20 summit!

As expected, India opened the G20 summit on Saturday - September 9 with a good score after officially inducting the African Union into the global group as a permanent member. Following the induction, the grouping has now become G21 and India's strong advocacy to induct the African Union into the club is seen as one of the hallmark moves of the Union government on the day one of the summit. 

The G20 summit will be held for two days - on September 9 and 10 and opening the summit at its venue of Bharat Mandapam, Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has welcomed the top global leaders to India and in his address, he had announced about the permanent membership of the African Union after which the leader of African Union offered a warm cwtch for Modi as the leaders of various nations hailed India's decision and welcomed the new member. 

In what has become India's big victory for its G20 presidency, Modi, during the second session of the first day, announced that the G20 has reached a consensus on the joint declaration and the Delhi Declaration has been adopted at the summit. Modi's announcement of consensus on the joint declaration has come when there were speculations that there was a fat chance that a joint declaration could be reached in the wake of differences within the group over the war in Ukraine. 

While speaking at the summit, Narendra Modi said, "I have received good news. Due to the hard work of our team, consensus has been built on New Delhi G20 Leaders' Summit Declaration. My proposal is to adopt this leadership declaration. I announce to adopt this declaration. On this occasion, I congratulate my Sherpa, ministers, who worked hard for it and made it possible." The text of the joint declaration has been released and on the front of the Russia-Ukraine War, the Delhi Declaration didn't blame Russia directly, instead it said that all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition. 

A part of Delhi Declaration read, "Concerning the war in Ukraine, while recalling the discussion in Bali, we reiterated our national positions and resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly (A/RES/ES-11/1 and A/RES/ES-11/6) and underscored that all states must act in a manner consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter in its entirety. In line with the UN Charter, all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible."

Reaching consensus on the joint declaration has been seen as a big moment for India's G20 presidency. India's G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said the declaration had hundred per cent consensus on development and geo-political issues. He further noted the news of reaching consensus was 'historic' and 'pathbreaking'. Kant took to social media and listed out the areas where the New Delhi Leaders Declaration focuses on - strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth, accelerating progress on Sustainable Developmental Goals, green development pact for a sustainable future, multilateral institutions for the 21st century, and reinvigorating multilateralism. 

Later, Amitabh Kant, India's External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had held a joint press conference. While addressing a presser, Amitabh Kant said, "I think one of the biggest achievements of this New Delhi leaders' declaration is what we've achieved on women-led development, with a massive focus on women empowerment and gender equality... There's a huge focus on gender-inclusive climate action. There's a completely big focus on women's food security, nutrition and well-being. And we've created a new working group on empowerment of women, which Brazil will carry forward."

By citing that the declaration focuses on promoting strong sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said, "The leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and recognized that it constitutes one of the more serious threats to international peace and security." "Noting that G20 isn't the platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues, leaders recognized it has consequences on the global economy, In particular, they focused on Ukraine War", Jaishankar added.