Japan, as current President of the G-7 group of advanced economies, played a key role in bringing the West on board with a compromise on the reference to Russia’s war against Ukraine in the G-20’s New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration.
Japan suggested as a way out of the stalemate an emphasis on the UN Charter and the need for all states to “refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state,” as mentioned in the declaration’s paragraph on Ukraine.
The New Delhi declaration, however, did not, as in last year’s Bali declaration, refer to “the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine”, language that Russia and China had opposed.
Despite the absence of a clear reference to Russian aggression, Japanese officials rejected the suggestion that the statement was “worse” than Bali on Ukraine, and took the view, as India has also suggested, that one year on the context had evolved and it was time to focus on a forward-looking peace that was, as the declaration said, “a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine.”
“The leaders’ declaration is a strong statement of support as you can see, for a comprehensive just and durable peace in Ukraine that will uphold the purpose and principles of the UN Charter,” Hikariko Ono, spokesperson for the Japanese Foreign Ministry, told reporters.
Ms. Ono said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had in his remarks to the G-20 on Saturday “stressed the upholding a free and open international order based on the rule of law and importance of principles enshrined in the UN Charter including sovereignty.” “These points were agreed by the G-7 and India,” she said, referring to the grouping of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. which Japan heads this year.
Indian and Japanese officials said the concurrent presidencies of India and Japan of the G-20 and G-7 respectively played a role in bridging differences between the West and Global South on many key issues beyond Ukraine. Mr. Kishida invited Mr. Modi as a guest to the May G-7 summit in Hiroshima.
Following talks on Saturday between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Kishida on the sidelines of the summit, the two sides “acknowledged the constructive dialogue of the two countries throughout the year on their priorities for their respective… presidencies,” said a statement from India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
Both sides have also signed an agreement for a fifth tranche of funding of 400 billion Yen (₹22,494 crore) for the slow-moving Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor.
While Japan was keen to step up investment in India from both the public sector and private enterprises, Japanese officials who did not want to be identified said Tokyo would, at the same time, like to see an improved investment environment in India that would be more conducive to facilitating foreign investment.