British economist Jim O'Neill, who coined the acronym BRIC (now BRICS), joint declaration that emerged from last week’s G20 Summit in New Delhi made G7 and the BRICS look like "sideshows in comparison".
He said the G20 declaration could be the first step in a stronger concerted effort to address global issues, asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi now looks more like a ''visionary statesman'' than Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The New Delhi Leaders' Declaration has offered further confirmation that the G20 is the only body with the scope and legitimacy to offer truly global solutions to global problems, and neither the BRICS nor the G7 has the credibility or the capacity to tackle these challenges ranging from climate change to the war in Ukraine and economic stability among other matters, he said in a write-up on the 'Project Syndicate'.
Noting that the lack of India-China solidarity will be a major stumbling block for the new BRICS, which recently admitted six new members, O'Neill said Xi's absence from the G20 summit has deepened the divide between the two countries. "Alternative groupings such as the G7 and the new expanded BRICS look like sideshows in comparison," he wrote.
Many speculate that Xi skipped the summit in order to snub India and Prime Minister Modi, he said, adding that whatever the motive, his decision had the effect of undermining the significance of the recent BRICS meeting, which many saw as a victory for China.
''If Xi wants to convince us otherwise, he will need to reach out to Modi. As matters stand, the success of the G20 meeting makes Modi the clear winner in this season of summitry. Perceptions matter, and right now he looks more like a visionary statesman than Xi does,'' he said.
The G20 summit, which was held on September 9-10 here, achieved another subtle but important step by agreeing to expand its ranks to include the African Union, he said. This breakthrough gives Modi a clear ''diplomatic victory, allowing him to burnish his image as a champion of the Global South'', he added.
Those who played the biggest roles, presumably India and the US, in pushing through the final G20 communique should be applauded, he said, adding that its language might not have risen to the level Ukraine would prefer but it was robust enough to send a clear message to others who may want to violate internationally recognised borders.
"The New Delhi declaration could be the first step in a stronger concerted effort to address global issues like climate change, the need for a revamped World Bank, infectious disease control, economic stability, the war in Ukraine, and other matters. Though this agenda was agreed in the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Russian and Chinese representatives who did attend would not have signed on to anything without having cleared it with their respective governments," wrote O’Neill.
India managed to hammer out an unexpected consensus among the G20 countries on the contentious issue of Ukraine through a series of hectic negotiations with emerging economies such as Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia playing a leading role in reaching the breakthrough on the first day itself.
With inputs from PTI
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