The G20 Foreign Ministers meeting on March 1 and 2 is likely to be stormy as the high profile mega event will be attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and also Foreign Ministers of Russia and China Sergey Lavrov and Qin Gang, respectively.
India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar, will host the event. Junior ministers from Japan and South Korea will attend the same as the Senior Ministers have prior domestic engagements.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the Foreign Ministers of the member countries of G20.
Sources said the visiting dignitaries would be welcomed at a gala reception on March 1, and the deliberations on various issues will be held only on March 2.
Russia-Ukraine conflict and US-China tensions may come to the fore during the meeting even as India hopes to push for detailed discussions on climate change and Third World debts.
Notably, Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi had called for global efforts at the UN last week to ensure Russia’s ‘withdrawal’ from Ukraine.
Representatives from 40 countries, including non-G20 members invited by India and multilateral organisations, will attend.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s visit to the meeting of G20 foreign ministers is also vital as he is expected to hold his first bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar.
This will be Qin’s first visit to India after he succeeded Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi in December 2022. Wang visited India in 2019 to participate in the special representative’s dialogue on the border mechanism, followed by a” working visit” to New Delhi in 2022.
Asked about China’s expectations from the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said,” China stands ready to work with all parties to ensure that the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting will send a positive signal on multilateralism, food and energy security and development cooperation”.
Mao Ning said:” In a world fraught with uncertainties and struggling to reboot the economy, countries have much to do to overcome the challenges in order to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Last July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov walked out of a G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bali after the West strongly denounced the war. Foreign Minister of Britain James Cleverly will also attend.
The G20 Finance Ministers’ met in Bengaluru on February 25 without issuing any joint statement. Most G20 nations condemned Ukraine’s conflict, but Russia and China did not endorse the same.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong arrived in India to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived on February 28 for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
Besides Lavrov, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DSA) Under Secretary General Li Junhua also arrived.
Welcome to India!
FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia @mfa_russia and @UNDESA Under Secretary General Li Junhua arrive in New Delhi for #G20FMM. FM Lavrov will also attend #Raisina2023. pic.twitter.com/6esLZwWdT8
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) February 28, 2023
“Welcome to India! FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia @mfa_russia and @UNDESA under Secretary General Li Junhua arrive in New Delhi for #G20FMM. FM Lavrov will also attend #Raisina2023,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.