The ‘mantras’ that powered success at the G-20 summit – India’s Multilateralism, Multipolarity, and Middle Way at the G-20 Summit | 20 September 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about how India's policy mantras of multilateralism, multipolarity, and the middle way helped to make the G20 summit a successful international event.


  • GS2: IR – Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests


  • The article discusses the outcomes of the G-20 summit in India, particularly the New Delhi Leaders' Declaration (NDLD).
  • It highlights India's policy mantras of multilateralism, multipolarity, and the middle way that won the day at the summit. These mantras helped to keep G20 relevant in today's international space.
  • The article analyzes the factors that contributed to the success of the G-20 summit, including support for multilateralism, a multipolar world, and India's tradition of following a middle path on global discord.


  • Multilateralism Factor:
    • The desire to support multilateralism drove the concessions made to achieve consensus at the G-20.
    • The western bloc comprising the G-7 countries, the European Union, and U.S. allies Australia and South Korea made the larger part of these concessions by agreeing to the removal of direct pointers to Russia in the operative paragraphs that referred to the war in Ukraine.
    • The only mention of Russia in the statement was a positive one, pertaining to the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The outcome strengthened the G-20 itself as an organization that has pulled off a consensus two years in a row, despite the polarizing war in Ukraine.
  • Support for a Multipolar World:
    • The growing support for a multipolar world was another factor that contributed to the success of the G-20 summit.
    • India has been a leading votary of a multipolar world, while the U.S. has tried to build a unipolar world, and China has pushed for a bipolar one.
    • The Global South, made up of more than 125 countries, is increasingly becoming a voice to be heard, resetting priorities at the global forum on issues such as development, climate change, health, and the digital divide.
    • India's championing of the Global South, and within it the membership of the 55-nation African Union (AU), was another reason for the desired outcomes at the G-20.
  • Middle Way:
    • India's success at the G-20 owes itself to its decades-old tradition of abjuring alliances and following a “middle path” on global discord.
    • This has meant making compromises at times, such as the Indian government's refusal to criticize or cut off ties with Russia, or to invite Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to address the G-20.
    • But it has put India in a better position to be able to strike a balance between the Global South and North, and the East and West.
    • It is this bridging role that is most needed in a time of global polarization.

Way Forward:

  • The success of the G20 summit indeed strengthened India's position as a world leader. Also, the G20 is still a very relevant body in international space.

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