Amitabh Kant, India’s negotiator at the G20 summit, said on Wednesday that the world is too preoccupied with Russia’s war in Ukraine, and should “move on” to deal with issues such as global poverty.
“Europe cannot bring growth, poverty, global debt, all developmental issues to a standstill across the world – especially when the south is suffering, especially when 75 countries are suffering from global debt, especially when one-third of the world is in recession, especially when 200 million people have gone below the poverty line,” Kant said.
“Can that one war bring the entire world to a standstill?” he asked.
“Nutrition has been impacted, health outcomes have been impacted, learning outcomes have been impacted, people have become stunted and wasted and we are just concerned with one Russia and Ukraine war. The world needs to move on and Europe needs to find a solution to its challenges,” he said.
India currently holds the rotating presidency of the G20 and seems frustrated that the war in Ukraine is consuming all attention during its tenure. India has not condemned the war, as it buys a great deal of oil and military equipment from Russia and wishes to maintain good relations with both Moscow and the West.
The G20 diplomats’ summit hosted in New Delhi at the beginning of March was dominated by talk of Ukraine but ended in disarray without reaching a consensus on the war or producing the traditional joint communique, partly because Russia and China blocked efforts to craft a statement that would condemn Russia for the war.
G20 leaders such as Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni have urged India to use its presidency to facilitate a “negotiated process for the cessation of hostilities for a just peace,” but so far India has been reluctant to take any action that might be construed as criticism by Moscow.
On the contrary, India has attempted to convince other members of the G20 to stop referring to the conflict as a “war,” instead preferring terms like “crisis” or “challenge.” None of the other members appears to have been persuaded by these efforts.
Ukraine’s Ukrinform media service seemed a bit peevish when reporting Kant’s plea to “move on” from the Russian invasion, pointing out that Ukraine “grows enough food to feed 400 million people every year,” but “millions of people have been left without Ukrainian grain” because Russia is blocking its ports.
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