U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the national capital on Wednesday night primarily to attend a crucial meeting of G20 Foreign Ministers that is taking place amid a bitter rift between the West and the Russia-China combine over the Ukraine conflict.
Besides attending the G20 meeting on Thursday, Mr. Blinken is expected to hold bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. He is also set to attend a Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Friday.
The U.S. Secretary of State arrived in Delhi after a tour of Uzbekistan.
In the Uzbek capital Tashkent, Mr. Blinken said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “fostered deep concern across the region”. “After all, if a powerful country is willing to try to erase the borders of a sovereign neighbour by force, what’s to stop it from doing the same to others,” he said.
“Countries across Central Asia understand this. So does the United States, and so do partners and allies around the world. And that’s exactly why we’ve been committed and remain committed to standing for the sovereignty, the territorial integrity, the independence not only of Ukraine, but for countries across Central Asia and, indeed, around the world,” he said at a media briefing.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, France’s Catherine Colonna, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Germany’s Annalena Baerbock and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly are among those attending the India-hosted G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
A number of Foreign Ministers of non-G20 countries, including that of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, are also attending the meet following India’s invitation as guests.
The Foreign Ministers are also likely to discuss ways to deal with falling economic growth, increasing inflation, lower demands for goods and services as well as increasing prices of food, fuel and fertilisers.
However, the major flashpoint between the West and Russia-China combine is expected to be on the Ukraine conflict even as India is set to make all-out efforts to bring out a joint statement following the crucial meeting.
Russia on Sunday alleged that the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting in Bengaluru ended without a joint communique because of the “confrontational” approach towards Moscow by the “collective West” over the situation in Ukraine.
The G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on Saturday was unable to come out with a joint communique following opposition by Russia and China on making any references to the war in Ukraine.