Shashi Tharoor hails Modi govt for G20 New Delhi Declaration: ‘But it’s also…’

Shashi Tharoor of the Congress said the New Delhi Declaration at the 18th G20 Summit is “undoubtedly a diplomatic triumph for India”. He also praised the Narendra Modi government for bringing all member states to a consensus on the New Delhi Declaration. The Congress MP, however, criticised the government for instrumentalising the G20 Summit as something that would turn out to be an asset for it.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Saturday, on Day 1 of the G20 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a consensus had been built on the New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit Declaration before formally announcing its adoption.

“The Delhi Declaration is undoubtedly a diplomatic triumph for India. It’s a good achievement because right until the G20 summit was being convened, the widespread expectation was there would be no agreement and, that, therefore, a joint communique might not be possible, and, that we might have to end up with a chairman’s summary,” Tharoor told news agency ANI on Sunday.

Tharoor, who earlier praised India’s G20 sherpa Amitabh Kant the diplomat’s hard work in achieving the consensus, said, “The main reason (for lack of a consensus on the statement) was the big gulf between those who wanted a condemnation of the Russian war in Ukraine and those, like Russia and China, who wanted no mention whatsoever of that subject. India was able to find a formula to bridge that gap and that is a significant diplomatic achievement because when there is a summit without a joint communique, it is always seen as a setback for the chairman.”

‘Govt turned event into asset for themselves’: Shashi Tharoor

On the conduct of the G20 Summit under India’s presidency, the Congress leader said the government actually made it a “people’s G20”. According to Tharoor, it was also an attempt by the “ruling party” (BJP) to turn the mega event into an “asset” for themselves.

“Things that were remarkable about the government’s conduct of the presidency was that they did something that no previous G20 presidency has done. They actually made it a nationwide event, 200 meetings in 58 cities with a huge amount of action, they converted the G20 into a sort of people G20. With public events, the university connect programmes, civil societies, all these things were done under our presidency. That is in some ways both a credit to India for taking a message of G20 to the entire people. But it was also an attempt by the ruling party to instrumentalise the G20 as something that would turn out to be an asset for them,” Tharoor said.

On Modi’s proposal – at the conclusion of the G20 Summit on Sunday – to hold a virtual G20 session in November to review the suggestions and proposals made at the forum for international economic cooperation, Tharoor said, “They have every right to do that. They are the ruling party. Many countries have hosted the G20 event, but never a ruling party has celebrated its leadership in such a way, the whole Vishwaguru concept, the posters of Mr Modi every 50 meters in Delhi. All of these are advertising the G20 as if it was the personal achievement of Mr Modi and the BJP government and that I think has raised some eyebrows.”

Before declaring that the summit closed, Modi handed over the ceremonial gavel of the Group of 20 presidency to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Shashi Tharoor slams govt for not inviting opposition

Tharoor also slammed the central government for not inviting the opposition to the G20 Summit. Tharoor said that a country that calls itself the “Mother of Democracy” completely excluded its “democratic opposition” from the event.

“A country which calls itself the Mother of Democracy was showcasing an event from which its democratic opposition was excluded. That was very unfortunate,” the Congress MP said.

Tharoor said that there was a “complete failure” to accommodate the Opposition in the G20 event and the spirit of “accommodation and conciliation” that was present in achieving the Delhi Declaration was not extended in the “domestic context”.

“There was a complete failure to accommodate the Opposition. The same spirit of accommodation and conciliation that we saw in achieving the Declaration was not extended in the domestic context to Indians,” Tharoor said.

The Central government did not invite any opposition leader to the President’s dinner for G20 delegates barring the chief ministers of opposition-ruled states. This invited sharp criticism from the Congress as well as parties in the opposition INDIA bloc.

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