January 27, 2023

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India G20 Presidency: Modi urges unity on climate change, terrorism and pandemics

The world must work together to tackle the biggest challenges of climate change, terrorism and pandemics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday as India began its year-long Group of 20 presidency.

The Ukraine conflict, which began with a Russian invasion in February, dominated a two-day G20 summit in Indonesia last month, to the frustration of some members who wanted more attention to global economic woes.

“Today we don’t have to fight for our survival – our time doesn’t have to be of war. In fact, it must not be,” Modi said in a statement published in Indian newspapers at the start of the G20 presidency.

“Today, the greatest challenges we face – climate change, terrorism and pandemics – cannot be solved by fighting each other, only by acting together.”

His comment on the war echoed a remark he made to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a regional conference in September, when he told him that now was no time for war, widely interpreted as a mild rebuke of what Russia is Ukraine calls “special military operation” in Russia.

Modi in Thursday’s statement said India will aim to depoliticize global supplies of food, fertilizer and medicinal products so geopolitical tensions don’t lead to global disruptions.

“As in our own families, those whose needs are greatest must always be our first concern,” Modi said.

G20 members agreed at last month’s summit on the Indonesian island of Bali to continue efforts to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, including accelerating efforts to phase out the unabated use of Money.

India, the world’s second-largest coal consumer, said it will prioritize a gradual transition to cleaner fuels and reductions in household consumption to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070 to meet its decarbonization pledge.

“Our G20 priorities are shaped not only in consultation with our G20 partners, but also with our fellow travelers in the Global South, whose voice often goes unheard,” Modi said.

“We will foster an honest conversation between the most powerful countries – about reducing the risks from weapons of mass destruction and improving global security.”