External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on Friday met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Bali on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting. The meetings indicated the emerging differences within the G20 grouping as Russia accused the United States of forcing Europe and the rest of the world to abandon cheap energy sources while the US blamed Moscow for “global food insecurity”
“Continued the conversation with Secretary Blinken on global and regional issues, this time in Bali G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting. Our relationship today allows us to approach a range of challenges with greater understanding and openness,” said Mr. Jaishankar after the meeting. The interaction was held in the backdrop of increasing supply of Russian crude to India disregarding American pressure to reduce India’s dependence on Russian petroleum supply. In the June 26-27-G7 summit in Munich, where both India and Indonesia were special guests, the leaders of the G7 countries floated the idea of capping Russian petroleum prices that India has not supported so far. The Indian minister’s interactions are indicative of the dynamics within the G20, which will meet in India in 2023.
The G20 that includes 20 of the world’s biggest economic powers like the US, Russia, the European Union, India, Indonesia and Japan, has a mandate to discuss global economic matters but the Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali was dominated by criticism of Russia by the western members. The Ukraine war and its economic fallouts are hinting at a division within the ranks of the global grouping, with the US, EU, Japan, Canada, Australia, France forming one anti-Russia block while the rest of the countries prefer a cautious approach asking for peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine.
Following his meeting with External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, Secretary Blinken said “bilateral partnership as well as collective efforts to address the implications of Russia’s war against Ukraine” were discussed. In his remarks at the main event, Mr. Blinken blamed Russia for the global food crisis and said, “During the G20, I had productive discussions on the global food security crisis. The US will continue to work with other partners and allies to respond to the challenges facing the global economy.”
The Russian arguments were placed forcefully by Foreign Minister Lavrov, who said that the language of the Western countries has made negotiations futile. “If western countries want to defeat Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine, then there is nothing to talk with them. The US is forcing Europe and the rest of the world to abandon cheap energy resources and to switch to much more expensive ones. Their approach is all about ideology and not about the welfare of Ukrainians.”
He reiterated Russia’s argument on food scarcity and said the responsibility for supplying grains from Ukraine’s storage lies with Kyiv as it has to de-mine its ports to enable the supply. “The western counterparts avoided discussion on global economy matters as per the G20 mandate and lapsed into an indiscriminate criticism of the Russian federation regarding the situation in Ukraine,” said Mr. Lavrov.