India's G20 sherpa says brokering peace between Ukraine, Russia beyond bloc's remit © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers work near the venue of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting at Gandhinagar in Gujarat, India July 13, 2023. REUTERS/Amit Dave

By Nikunj Ohri and Sarita Chaganti Singh

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Brokering peace between Russia and Ukraine is beyond the remit of the G20 and such efforts will be best undertaken by the United Nations and through bilateral negotiations, India’s sherpa to the bloc said Saturday.

“Our view is that G20 is an economic forum, not a forum to discuss security issues,” India’s sherpa Amitabh Kant told Reuters in an interview.

“However, as PM (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi said during Bali, this is not an era of war, but an era of dialogue and diplomacy,” Kant added, referring to a G20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali in November.

Modi’s remark that “today’s era is not an era of war” was first made in September to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in New Delhi’s sharpest public response to the war.

India, which holds the current presidency of the G20, has sought a largely neutral stance on the war, generally declining to blame Russia for the invasion that began in February last year, urging a diplomatic solution and sharply boosting its purchases of Russian oil even as Western nations seek to squeeze Moscow.

The G20 includes the rich G7 nations as well as Russia, China, Brazil, Australia and Saudi Arabia, among other countries.

Over the course of its presidency India has sought to highlight the economic impact of the conflict as well as issues such as climate change and poorer countries’ debt.

G20 nations, which account for more than 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, have wrangled over condemning the war amid a push from G7 nations to do so.

This year, some Western nations have refused to sign off on an eventual G20 communique unless Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is denounced in the same words as the leaders’ declaration after the last G20 summit.

India has invited leaders of all G20 nations for a final summit in September in New Delhi and have received “encouraging responses”, Kant said.


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