Amid the West’s efforts to curb the use of Russian oil and gas globally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told G20 leaders on Tuesday that restriction on energy supply must not be promoted. Speaking at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, the PM pointed out that as the world’s fastest-growing major economy, energy security is important to India.
Modi also had interactions with US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron, and several other global leaders on the sidelines of the summit. He met Chinese President Xi Jinping during the welcome dinner.
The leaders of the 20 largest economies are meeting for two days in what has been described as one of the most divisive and challenging G20 summits ever. A call to denounce Russia for its Ukraine invasion has reportedly split the G20 into opposite camps. Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped the summit and deputed his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to attend the event instead.
Speaking at the summit’s first session on food and energy security, the prime minister said India is on track to achieve its target of generating 50 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
He said while India has provided foodgrain to other nations in need, the latest global shortage should be met with a G20 agreement on securing stable supply chains.
Stressing that the country is focused on its climate mitigation goals, he said: “India is committed to clean energy and environment.”
“By 2030, half of our electricity will be generated from renewable sources,” he added.
The statement burnishes India’s credentials at the ongoing 27th United Nations’ conference on climate change (COP27) in Egypt as a responsible global player working to reduce emissions while balancing developmental needs.
He also stressed the need for time-bound and affordable finance to developing nations, as well as a sustainable supply of technology to ensure an inclusive energy transition.
Stressing the need to ensure energy security, he said: “We must not promote any restrictions on the supply of energy, and stability in the energy market should be ensured.” The prime minister’s comment comes amid calls by the US and the European Union that India takes part in the G-7 initiative to reduce the profits that Russia makes from selling oil.
“Climate change, the Covid pandemic, the developments in Ukraine, and the global problems associated with it. All these together have caused havoc in the world. Global supply chains are in ruins,” he said.
On the Ukraine war, Modi reiterated his call for diplomacy and disengagement, calling for concrete and collective resolve to ensure peace, harmony, and security in the world. “I have repeatedly said that we have to find a way to return to the path of ceasefire and diplomacy in Ukraine. Over the past century, the Second World War wreaked havoc in the world. After that, the leaders of that time made a serious effort to take the path of peace.
Now it’s our turn,” he said.
Modi hinted that India is willing to act as a mediator. “I am confident that next year when the G20 meets in the holy land of Buddha and Gandhi, we will all agree to convey a strong message of peace to the world,” he said. India is set to take over the G20 presidency from Indonesia after the summit.
Presiding over the G20, a forum for international economic cooperation representing around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population, represents a unique leadership opportunity for New Delhi’s foreign policy.
The PM highlighted the crisis in the supply of essential goods across the world. Modi also flagged the current shortage of fertilizers in terms of food security. “Today’s fertilizer shortage is tomorrow’s food crisis, for which the world will not have a solution,” he said. The PM pointed out multilateral institutions have failed to address these challenges and therefore, the world has greater expectations from the G20.
“We should also not hesitate to acknowledge that multilateral institutions such as the UN have been unsuccessful on these issues. And we have all failed to make suitable reforms in them,” he said. He added that will work for global consensus on all these issues during its G20 presidency. India will take over the annual presidency of the G20 on Wednesday at the end of the current summit.
During their brief interaction, the prime minister and the US president reviewed the state of India-US strategic partnership, including in sectors like critical and emerging technologies and artificial intelligence.
It is understood that Modi and Biden also touched upon the Ukraine conflict and its implications in their meeting that took place on the margins of the G-20 summit in this Indonesian city. In its readout, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) only said that the two leaders also discussed “topical global and regional developments” in the meeting.
He also met UK’s Prime Minister Sunak — their first face-to-face interaction since he assumed power last month. Modi is scheduled to hold wide-ranging talks with Sunak and Macron, apart from holding a meeting with Indonesia President Joko Widodo on Wednesday. Modi also had interactions with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, and the deputy managing director of the IMF, India-born Gita Gopinath.
He addressed the Indian diaspora in Bali, asserting that there is a “huge difference” between pre- and post-2014 India. “Today, India is moving ahead at an unprecedented speed and scale,” Modi said, adding that India now builds the biggest statue and the biggest stadium, and has opened more than 320 million bank accounts, which remain higher than the population of the US.