India’s diplomatic balancing act on the Russia-Ukraine war will be put to test as it hosts the meeting of the foreign ministers of G20 member nations in New Delhi. As the war, now in its second year, shows no signs of abating, the gulf has widened between the global powers, even as India is trying to delicately navigate the tensions while protecting national interests. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, and their Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are attending the meeting and seeking support for their positions from non-aligned members of the group. The onus of achieving a consensus on the contentious Ukraine conflict is largely on the host – External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
India is positioned uniquely in the world as a country that understood the priorities of the developed countries and appreciated the challenges and ambitions of the developing world, allowing it to act as a bridge to meet expectations. India’s decades-long championing of the causes of the global south and poorer nations allowed it to become a leader of developing countries. Due its past history of maintaining neutrality, India is still regarded in good esteem by several countries across the globe. With it now holding the G20 presidency, India has a unique opportunity to play an important role to defuse tension at a time when the world is deeply divided due to the Ukraine war.