G20 summit: Biden heads to India to make the most of G and Putin’s absence

New Delhi

President Joe Biden Arrive New Delhi on Friday The annual meeting of the 20-member group, with plans to counter growing military and economic aggression from Russia and China, demonstrates America’s commitment to developing countries.

The autocratic leaders of those two countries — each a member of the G20 — They are boycotting the summit this year It only underlines that Fractures through a cluster of the world’s largest economies.

Ahead of Biden’s visit, officials were working urgently to draft joint declarations that could be signed at the end of the summit. But according to diplomats, the negotiations were difficult and reflected wide divisions within the G20 on the most contentious global issues.

Biden has long hoped for organizations like the G20 to come together in moments of global risk, and is expected to focus on issues such as climate change and debt restructuring over two days here.

Unlike the even smaller and like-minded G7, this week’s big summit brings together a wide range of countries with a wide range of viewpoints, from the war in Ukraine to the imperative to confront Beijing.

For some Western officials, the utility of the G20 in an era of divided interests and global conflict is in doubt. But Biden’s aides heading into the summit insisted they still see the forum as capable of producing valuable results.

„We hope this G20 summit will show that the world’s major economies can work together in challenging times,” US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said this week. “So, as we go to New Delhi, our focus will be on delivering for developing countries, making progress on key priorities for the American people, from climate to technology, and demonstrating our commitment to the G20 as a forum where we can really deliver. .”

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At the center of the weekend summit is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who used his method Under the leadership of the G20 It should focus on developing countries while raising its status as a global politician — including developing closer ties with the United States.

Biden’s first business move upon arriving in India will be a late-night meeting with Modi, whose embrace of the West has drawn deep suspicion in China. Like many countries in the Global South, India has not forcefully condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and continues to rely on Russian energy products that are largely ignored by the West.

Biden’s most important goal at the G20 will revolve around proposed reforms to the World Bank and other multilateral development banks, and increasing funding to those institutions focused on promoting developing countries.

Created after World War II, the institutions have long funded education, public health, and infrastructure projects in developing countries. Recently, however, China has tried to use its influence through its own debt programs, which often keep countries in debt.

Sullivan said this week that the World Bank reforms were „not anti-China,” noting that Beijing is a partner in the bank. Yet Sullivan described the World Bank’s reforms as a contrast to „the PRC’s coercion and unsustainable levels of indebtedness through the Belt and Road Initiative”. And in an era of escalating conflict, every step Biden takes abroad could be interpreted as a challenge to Beijing — often by Chinese officials.

The White House has already requested $3.3 billion from Congress in additional funding for the World Bank, which administration officials say will include $25 billion in additional lending capacity and $1 billion in grants to help poor countries face crises and $1 billion in global infrastructure. Financing.

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The U.S. expects other countries to pledge increased funding for the bank, injecting a total of $100 billion in new lending capacity.

“The World Bank’s biggest stakeholders are all sitting around the G20 table. „We’ve asked Congress for the necessary funding to deliver this $25 billion, but getting other countries on board and excited about it is a big part of going up to $100 billion,” a senior administration official said.

But beyond specific reforms, administration officials hope Biden’s presence at the summit and his focus on developing banks aimed at developing countries will send a message of America’s commitment to those countries.

„We think it’s very important for our leadership to have the United States come to the table and say, 'OK, we know we have to respond to the needs of developing countries,'” the official said.

Biden’s presence at the summit – which includes many developing countries – and Xi’s absence will give the US president an opportunity to highlight America’s commitment to developing countries.

„With the Chinese president not there, President Biden’s participation will stand out, and it will send a message to the region and the world that America’s commitment is solid, and China may have other fish to fry,” Yun Sun said. is a senior fellow and director of the Stimson Center’s China Program.

As the war in Ukraine — and divisions among G20 members over how to respond to Russia’s invasion — dominated last year’s summit, U.S. officials say they are committed to supporting developing countries, including financially, more than Ukraine.

While Biden still wants to hammer home the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine on developing countries — through food and energy security and other inflationary pressures — Biden is willing to put much of his energy into projects that demonstrate America’s commitment to developing countries.

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„While we continue to take responsibility for what Russia has done, we’ve tried to make sure there’s a better story to tell about our ambition on other items,” a senior administration official said.

America’s focus on issues other than the war in Ukraine underscores the divisions among G20 members over the war. While neither Xi nor Putin is expected to attend this year’s summit, the two countries have been united in brokering a joint statement condemning Russia’s invasion.

India, this year’s host country and chair of the summit, is the UN body condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Abstain from voting on resolutions and buy Russian oil at high prices since the invasion.

For Biden, the absence of Xi and Putin is a missed opportunity for all three to compete for influence on the world stage and a start.

At last year’s G20 in Bali, Biden sat down for an hour-long summit with Xi, which officials said later created positive momentum toward normalizing ties between the U.S. and China.

Xi’s absence from this year’s talks has prevented even a chance meeting, and Biden told reporters this week that he was „disappointed” by the Chinese president’s decision to avoid it.

Yet without Xi, Biden’s central proposal to reform global lending institutions like the World Bank — in the face of what the U.S. calls China’s coercive lending practices — is unlikely to meet president-level opposition from Beijing.

„It doesn’t change our pitch,” Sullivan said this week. „Although not represented at the leadership level, China’s representatives will be at the table. But the United States is going to make the same direct case in our view as to why this is so important.

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