The G20 must address food, fertilizer and fuel security concerns as a priority, says Jaishankar

Food, fertilizer and fuel security challenges are all or nothing for developing countries and must be at the heart of any global economic decision-making, Secretary of State S. Jaishankar said.

“Such issues (related to food, fertilizer and fuel challenges) should not be relegated to the fringes of international discourse. They are indeed vital to the world economy and must be treated as such. In fact, we urge that they be at the center of every decision-making process,” Jaishankar said in his opening remarks at the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting on Thursday.

Jaishankar also advocated more reliable and resilient supply chains. Without naming China or any other nation, the minister noted that recent experience had underscored the risks of dependence on limited geographic areas.

The meeting, which will be held in physical form in New Delhi under the Indian G20 Presidency, will be attended by 40 countries, including the foreign ministers of most G20 countries. There are also participants from non-G20 members and host countries invited by India, such as Bangladesh, Egypt, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman and Singapore.

Also Read: India’s G20 Presidency Gives Global South a Voice, Modi Says

Faced with multiple problems

The minister pointed out that the G20 countries came together for the first time in the midst of a global crisis and the world is now faced with several. These include the impact of the Covid pandemic, concerns about fragile supply chains, the fallout from ongoing conflict, fears of debt crises and the disruption of climate events.

Acknowledging that G20 countries may not always agree on these issues when considering these issues, Jaishankar said there are some issues of sharp disagreement and views. “Even so, we need to find common ground and set a direction because that’s what the world expects of us,” he said.

However, the minister did not directly mention the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and the disagreements between G20 members over Russia’s role in the conflict.

India has openly criticized the war and called for a solution through dialogue, but has largely abstained whenever the West has submitted resolutions condemning Russia to the UN. China, on the other hand, has directly supported Russia in various ways, and there are allegations that it may consider helping Moscow with arms.

Sustainable partnerships

The G20 countries are individually and collectively obliged to contribute to international growth and prosperity through sustainable partnerships and goodwill initiatives, said the minister. For its part, India has implemented development projects in 78 countries and actively promoted exchange and capacity building. During the Covid pandemic, India has made a conscious effort to contribute to global solutions even while caring about our own, he added.

“The G20 must be sensitive to the priorities and economic concerns of all our partners, especially the weaker ones. We must ensure demand-driven and sustainable development cooperation based on country ownership and transparency. Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity are essential guiding principles for such cooperation,” the minister said.

The G20 includes influential economies including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Kingdom the United States and the European Union.

The countries account for around 85 percent of global GDP, 75 percent of world trade and 65 percent of the world population. The G20 must address food, fertilizer and fuel security concerns as a priority, says Jaishankar

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