India G20 Presidency: Modi urges unity on climate change, terrorism, pandemics

The world must work together to tackle the biggest challenges of climate change, terrorism and pandemics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday as India began its year-long presidency of the Group of 20.

The conflict in Ukraine, which began with a Russian invasion in February, dominated a two-day G20 summit in Indonesia last month, to the frustration of some members who wanted more focus on global economic woes.

“Today we don’t have to fight to survive – our era doesn’t have to be one of war. Indeed, it should not be,” Modi said in a statement published in Indian newspapers to mark the start of the G20 presidency.

“The biggest challenges we face today – climate change, terrorism and pandemics – cannot be solved by fighting each other, but only by acting together.”

His remark about war echoed a remark he made to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a regional conference in September when he told him that now was not the time for war, widely interpreted as a mild rebuke of what Russia called its “special military operation”. in Ukraine.

Modi said in Thursday’s statement that India would aim to depoliticize the global supply of food, fertilizer and medical products so that geopolitical tensions do not lead to global disruptions.

“As in our own families, those whose needs are greatest should always be our primary concern,” Modi said.

At the summit on the Indonesian island of Bali last month, G20 members agreed to continue efforts to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, including accelerating efforts to reduce the continued use of coal build.

India, the world’s second largest consumer of coal, said it would prioritize a phased transition to cleaner fuels and reducing household consumption to reach net zero emissions by 2070 to meet its decarbonisation pledge.

“Our G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not only our G20 partners, but also our fellow travelers in the South, whose voices often go unheard,” Modi said.

“We will encourage honest conversation among the most powerful nations – about reducing the risks of weapons of mass destruction and improving global security.”

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