The significance of the G-20 meeting for the United States’ leadership resides in the potential for President Biden to showcase his dedication to collaborating with allies and partners on several global concerns, including the climate catastrophe, the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economic recovery, and the Iran nuclear agreement. During the G20 summit held on September 9-10 in New Delhi, the United States committed to facilitating the reformation of the World Bank and IMF to enhance their adaptability in providing financial assistance to developing countries to fund renewable energy initiatives, climate change mitigation efforts, and crucial infrastructure projects.
On the sidelines of this summit, President Biden and the leaders of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom focused on the potential threats associated with Iran’s increasing nuclear program. The primary objective of this summit was to collaboratively address the pressing supply chain obstacles arising from the unparalleled economic resurgence while concurrently establishing enduring supply chain resilience for forthcoming periods. Additionally, the United States has successfully established an agreement with the European Union to engage in negotiations on the world’s first carbon-focused sectoral arrangement on steel and aluminum.
The G-20 has increased preexisting economic endeavors in the Western world, such as the United States’ trade agreements for the Indo-Pacific, the European Union’s Global Gateway, and the G7’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment. During their bilateral discussion at the G20 summit, President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached a mutual understanding to enhance cooperation in the advancement of crucial and emerging technologies, including quantum computing, space exploration, and 5G and 6G telecommunications. This measure is expected to enhance India’s competitive position against China in the technology domain within the Indo-Pacific region. The joint effort between the United States and India to support the Rip and Replace program serves as a direct response to China’s progress in the field of telecommunications technology.
Furthermore, the Russia-Ukraine war emerged as the central concern for the Western allies at this summit. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has been met with harsh condemnation by the United States and its Western allies, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, and Italy. In addition, sanctions have been implemented against Russia, and assistance has been extended to preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States has made attempts to garner support from other G20 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, and Saudi Arabia, to exert pressure on Russia and defend the principles of the rules-based international order. Nevertheless, it is important to note that not all G20 member states agreed with the United States’ stance on the Russia-Ukraine war. Several countries, like India, Turkey, Brazil, and South Africa, have embraced a more impartial stance, advocating for the discussion to reduce tensions. Furthermore, they have shown opposition to the endeavors of Western nations to isolate or impose sanctions on Russia at the G20.
Consequently, the United States has encountered many hurdles and constraints in its endeavor to establish a cohesive coalition against Russia inside the G20. The concluding statement of the G20 summit in 2023 effectively captured the many perspectives and evaluations of the state of affairs in Ukraine while refraining from openly identifying Russia as the belligerent party in the war. This statement is in stark contrast to the preceding G20 meeting held in 2022, at which the leaders’ official declaration expressed harsh condemnation of Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine.
In addition to the aforementioned concerns, India, as the G20 Chair, has proposed the establishment of the Global Biofuel Alliance, which has garnered the participation of the United States as a founding member. Other nations, including Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Mauritius, and the United Arab Emirates, have also joined this initiative. The primary objective of the GBA was to expedite the implementation of sustainable biofuels to facilitate the worldwide shift towards renewable energy sources and mitigate the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions. The United States has shown its dedication to collaborating with its counterparts in the GBA to promote the development and use of environmentally friendly and sustainable fuel sources on a global scale. China is ranked as the third-largest global producer of biofuels, behind the United States and Brazil. China has engaged in collaborative efforts with several nations, including Brazil, Canada, and France, in the realm of biofuel initiatives and trade, which extend beyond the confines of the aforementioned framework. Hence, the Global Biofuel Alliance has the potential to facilitate active involvement for the US with China concerning biofuel matters, alongside other facets of the worldwide energy shift.
During the G-20, the United States expressed its support for the IMEC corridor as a potential alternative to the BRI. These regions have significant importance for the security, prosperity, and values of the United States. The United States endeavors to collaborate with its partners to maintain a free and open order that is grounded in the principles of sovereignty, democracy, and the rule of law. The US-India alliance seeks to address the rising influence and aggressiveness of China, which presents several challenges and risks to the United States and its allies. The BRI implemented by China has increased its economic and political influence while bolstering its military presence and capabilities inside the region. The United States aims to use deterrence strategies and formulate appropriate responses to address China’s aggressive behaviors, particularly concerning its operations in the South China Sea. Furthermore, the United States seeks to make a substantial contribution to the worldwide energy transition and climate action, both of which are of paramount importance to the United States and the international community. The primary objective of the IMEC corridor is to streamline the global distribution of energy sources such as solar, wind, hydrogen, and biofuels across two continents.
The summit was notable due to President Biden’s commitment to allocate a significant sum of US$25 billion towards facilitating reforms, as well as his efforts to gain further financial contributions from other nations, amounting to a total of $200 billion for developing countries during the following ten years. The United States has agreed with the European Union, Saudi Arabia, and India to facilitate connectivity between the Middle East, Europe, and Asia through railway and port infrastructure. China is also facing challenges in its internal economy, which may potentially hinder the ability of Chinese firms to continue providing financial support for large-scale international ventures. The potential agreements sponsored by the United States inside the G20 can address the impending deficit.
In conclusion, the United States is firmly taking leadership in the Indo-Pacific while recognizing its significance in terms of safeguarding its security and upholding its core principles and beliefs. In the G-20, the United States aimed to strengthen collaboration in the context of regional stability and asserted that its Indo-Pacific strategy has the potential to provide benefits not only for its interests but also for the global community at large.
[Photo by Casa Rosada, via Wikimedia Commons]
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
Aishwarya Sanjukta Roy Proma is a Research Associate at BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD).