For this week’s G20 meeting, India is hosting top diplomats from both Russia and the United States, which has drawn concern from some over the current conflict between the two major countries that have escalated as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As Breitbart News notes, “India’s delicate balancing act between the Western world and Russia was put to another tightrope test on Wednesday, as both U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in New Delhi for this week’s G20 meeting.”
Meanwhile, the Times of India described the tension, reporting that “a meeting was seen as unlikely between the two men, who have not been in the same room since a G20 meeting in Bali in July – when, according to Western officials, the Russian foreign minister walked out.”
Ukraine war set to divide as India hosts G20 foreign ministers https://t.co/2XXKGUQkan
— TOI India (@TOIIndiaNews) March 1, 2023
India’s president was reportedly hoping to show off his country’s position as leader of the “Global South” bloc of developing nations, though the G20 summit is still expected to be awkward because the Russians were already attacking the U.S. as Lavrov arrived.
In comments leading up to the summit, the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed the West is only sanctioning Russia because it wants “revenge for the inevitable disappearance of the levers of dominance from its hands.”
“The destructive policy of the U.S. and its allies has already put the world on the brink of a disaster, provoked a rollback in socio-economic development, and seriously aggravated the situation of the poorest countries,” they added.
While the G20 Summit is supposed to be focused on a variety of issues, many expect that the discussion will devolve into an argument over the Russia-Ukraine war.
“India wants its G20 presidency this year to focus on issues such as alleviating poverty and climate finance, but the Ukraine war and its effects are set to dominate the agenda,” the Times of India predicted.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang is also in New Delhi for the summit, which comes amid escalating tensions between the Biden administration and China.
EAM Jaishankar, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang shake hands ahead of G20 Foreign ministers meet.
Qin’s visit to India will be the first by the Chinese Foreign Minister after his predecessor Wang Yi's visit to New Delhi in 2019.
Key bilateral meet between both FMs at 12 noon pic.twitter.com/55zVF9GAHZ
— Megh Updates 🚨™ (@MeghUpdates) March 2, 2023
The most recent tensions arose when the communist country’s surveillance balloon was discovered flying over the U.S., and subsequently shot down after its mission was essentially completed. While the Biden administration appeared moderately angered over the spy balloon, China was furious when it was shot down — even demanding an apology over the incident.
China is still maintaining its alliance with Russia, as last week’s meeting of G20 finance ministers in Bengaluru was not able to produce a joint statement about the invasion of Ukraine because Russia and China nixed anything critical of the matter.
India has also refused to denounce Russia’s actions as of Wednesday, with Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra stating that the matter will be “an important point of discussion during the Foreign Ministers’ meeting” — but noting that India’s position will be a generic insistence that “this isn’t an era of war.”