China and Russia’s leaders may have decided to skip this year’s G20 gathering in New Delhi, but everyone else managed to get along just fine without them.
Why it matters: India and the US emerged as the winners from this year’s summit, with both countries advancing some of their own priorities while holding the American-led bloc together on some contentious issues.
The US struck a deal with the EU, India, and Middle Eastern countries to build a rail and shipping infrastructure network for trade between the regions, a rival to China’s Belt and Road initiative that’s expanded that country’s influence in Africa and Asia.
- India, meanwhile, secured its position as a broker between the West and the Global South, managing to negotiate an eleventh-hour joint statement on Russia’s war in Ukraine that many observers believed would not happen at all.
Zoom out: China’s strategy of minimizing the summit—Xi Jinping chose to skip it altogether—may have backfired, alienating itself from India while bringing the rest of the bloc closer together.
- A think tank affiliated with the Chinese government attacked India for “sabotaging the cooperative atmosphere” of the meeting.
Yes, but: Finding consensus among the group’s members came at the cost of abandoning an explicit condemnation of Russia in the summit’s joint declaration, an outcome that Ukraine condemned.
Bottom line: The US sees India—now the world’s most populous country—as a key partner to counterbalance China. This year’s G20 showed they’re willing to compromise on other priorities, including Ukraine, for the sake of that relationship.—TS