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Expert aftertaste after the G20 Summit

The analysis of publications of the leading Indian think tanks during and after the G20 summit in New Delhi enables highlighting a number of fundamental aspects and conclusions.

1. Broad participation at the summit of high representatives from Western Asia (Middle East), including the UAE, Saudi Arabia (KSA), Egypt, Turkey and Oman leaders. At the same time, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the KSA combined his participation in the G20 with a state visit to India.

According to Indian experts, tectonic shifts are taking place in the geopolitics of Western Asia: the KSA and the UAE are already positioning themselves as “poles" of power in the movement towards a multipolar order. From BRICS+ to the SCO, and now to the G20, the involvement of the Gulf countries is becoming more noticeable as their economic weight grows, despite the long-standing crises in the region.

The Persian Gulf may also be the place where the competition between the West and China is most noticeable today.

Amid such strategic shifts, the Middle East region is increasingly seen as a beacon of the world economy. Apart from the availability of hydrocarbon reserves, 30 percent of the world's container trade and 16 percent of all air cargo traffic passes through it, although less than 6 percent of the world's population lives there.

2. The second significant milestone of the summit was the inclusion of the African Union (AU) among the permanent members of the G20 as an important entity of the Global South.

Experts believe that this will enhance the influence of a continental group of 55 countries with a combined GDP of US$2.4 trillion, which account for about 85 percent of global GDP, more than 75 percent of global trade and about two-thirds of the world's population, making Africa a future center of global growth and an important player in international affairs. It is also noted that the prosperity of Africa plays a key role in building a multipolar world.

At the same time, recognizing the growing contribution of the AU to the creation of a new global governance architecture, some Indian experts doubt whether this bloc will be able to speak on behalf of the whole resurgent Africa with a single voice.

3. The third group of events that attracted attention are alliances and projects launched on the sidelines. These include the Global Biofuels Alliance, the relevance of which is linked to the impending energy and climate crises, as well as the new India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), supported by the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), as well as the G7 group led by the United States and positioned as an alternative to the Chinese “Belt and Road".

In addition to this, India has announced a number of unilateral initiatives, such as maintaining the Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR), a virtual DPI repository to be shared by G20 members. It is also proposed to create the One Future Alliance (OFA), a voluntary initiative to build capacity, provide technical assistance and financial support to implement DPI in low- and middle-income countries.

4. The final version of the summit outcome document clearly demonstrated the possibility of adjusting the position of the United States, the EU and the G-7 countries as a whole, especially if we compare it with the Bali statement of the G-20 of 2022 with sharp criticism of Russia.

Indian experts admit that previously the G7, as a rule, dominated the processes of the G20. But this time, New Delhi saw that the Global South has great potential, bringing an element of multipolarity to the decision-making process. Perhaps the G20 is emerging from the shadow of the G7, becoming the main forum for international economic cooperation, as it was originally conceived.

5. The arguments of Indian experts on such a delicate issue as unity in the ranks of the G20 seem important.

In fact, given the complexities of interdependencies and internal factors affecting the G20 leaders, compromises are always difficult, and therefore changes in the existing decision-making system can only be implemented gradually. If the bloc can really unite and implement the necessary reforms, step by step, then over time the result will not be long in coming.

It is emphasized also that the status of a permanent member in the G20 itself does not bring direct benefits. When deciding to join the bloc, it is necessary to conduct a deep introspection, assess the willingness to take responsibility and predict how to turn this resource to the benefit of the state. The thesis is quite universal, and it can be fully extrapolated to membership in other associations, such as the SCO and BRICS.

In summary, one cannot but agree with the assessments that the G20 summit in New Delhi was an undoubted success of Indian diplomacy and foreign policy in general.

Amid an unstable global environment and a shaky balance of power, the G20 presidency provided India with a unique chance to show its ambitions, leadership qualities, as well as the ability to form platforms for effectively solving common problems based on broad consensus. And India took full advantage of this opportunity.

It is also true that the G20 will not solve all the world's problems overnight, nor will it eliminate India's external challenges. However, both the G20 and New Delhi's foreign policy will never be the same again, which we need to keep in mind in Minsk, especially in light of plans to raise Belarusian-Indian relations to the level of strategic partnership.