Shifts in Global Dynamics: G20 Summit and the Changing World Order

In 2009, at the G20 summit in London, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke optimistically about a “new world order” where developed and developing nations would collaborate to address the inequalities and challenges of globalization. Fast forward 14 years, and the upcoming G20 summit in India paints a starkly different picture.

The global landscape has shifted, dividing the world into democratic and autocratic blocs. Populist and protectionist tendencies have eroded support for free trade, while ambitious plans to reform carbon economies now face resistance as the complexities of climate change mitigation become apparent.

Within the G20, Russia remains isolated due to its actions in Ukraine, with President Vladimir Putin unable to risk international travel due to the threat of arrest for war crimes. Meanwhile, China, a rising superpower, is expected to be conspicuously absent from the summit, possibly driven by border tensions or internal economic concerns related to a property market crisis.

The G20 meeting is unlikely to yield consensus on the Ukraine conflict, as Russia and possibly China would likely block any such efforts. Furthermore, the summit could exacerbate tensions between Western democracies and developing nations, undermining the group’s original purpose of fostering cooperation.

Xi Jinping’s absence takes on significance in the context of China’s efforts to establish an alternative world order. China recently expanded the BRICS group to include new members, further solidifying its position as a leader among developing states. This move underscores China’s desire to challenge the Western-dominated order.

US President Joe Biden expressed disappointment at Xi’s absence, highlighting the deteriorating relations between the US and China. Biden may seek a bilateral meeting with Xi at a future summit, but the willingness of Beijing to improve relations remains uncertain.

Xi’s absence offers an opportunity for Biden to strengthen ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The US aims to draw India closer to its security arrangements and alliances in the Indo-Pacific region to counterbalance China’s influence. However, India’s evolving foreign policy, characterized by a desire to maintain non-alignment while engaging with both major powers, complicates this endeavor.

India’s reluctance to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its reliance on Russian oil have disappointed Western allies. As a rising power that straddles both the BRICS and G20, India faces delicate balancing acts in navigating the shifting global order.

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