India is reluctant to discuss new Russia sanctions at the G20
By Shivangi Acharya and Sarita Chaganti Singh
BENGALURU (Reuters) – India does not want the G20 nations to discuss additional sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, government sources said on Wednesday, as it hosts a meeting of the bloc’s finance chiefs, which the United States and its allies are pushing for should for harder actions.
India also urged avoiding the use of “war” in the communiqué language to describe the conflict, which enters its second year on Friday when the meeting begins, G20 officials said.
India has maintained a neutral stance on the war, has not blamed Russia for the invasion, has sought a diplomatic solution, and has sharply increased its purchases of Russian oil.
The Indian sources directly involved in this week’s meeting of financial leaders in Bengaluru – the first major event of India’s year-long G20 presidency – said the macroeconomic implications of the war would be discussed.
“India is not keen to discuss or support additional sanctions against Russia during the G20,” said one of the Indian officials. “The existing sanctions against Russia have had a negative impact on the world.”
Negotiating the group’s joint communique, India attempted to build a consensus to label the conflict a “crisis” or a “challenge,” but discussions were postponed until Thursday without a conclusion, delegates from at least seven G20 countries said.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will “very strongly” condemn Russia’s invasion during the meetings, regardless of how it is described in the communiqué, a senior US Treasury Department official said.
Yellen’s deputy Wally Adeyemo said Tuesday that the United States and its allies will impose new sanctions and export controls on Russia in the “coming days,” including crackdowns on companies and individuals who help Moscow circumvent previous sanctions.
Government and Treasury and Foreign Ministry spokesmen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Earlier, Anurag Thakur, India’s Information Minister, said at a press conference after welcoming delegates: “Today’s era is not for war. Democracy, dialogue and diplomacy are the way forward.”
Japan’s finance minister said on Tuesday that the Group of Seven (G7) finance leaders would meet on the sidelines of the G20 meeting to discuss measures against Russia.
DEBT, CRYPT ON THE AGENDA
“Many nations are very interested in talking about the war between Russia and Ukraine,” said a deputy central bank governor from one of the participating countries on condition of anonymity.
“Russia itself wants to discuss the economic impact of sanctions.”
The Russian Embassy in New Delhi did not respond to a request for comment.
G20 finance ministers and central bank governors are also expected to discuss unblocking debt restructuring for troubled economies hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Reuters reported last week that India has prepared a proposal for the G20 countries to help debtor sovereigns by asking lenders, including the world’s largest sovereign creditor China, to make a big haircut on loans. The US Treasury official said the G20 debt talks would be “difficult” this week.
Yellen and German Finance Minister Christian Lindner will attend the meetings and are expected to put pressure on China to “quickly deliver” debt relief for low- and middle-income countries.
However, neither the Russian finance minister nor the head of the central bank are expected to attend the meeting and will be represented by their deputies.
World Bank Reform
During the event, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) plans to meet with the World Bank, India, China, Saudi Arabia, the United States and other G7 countries to try to reach an understanding on common standards, principles and definitions for distressed restructuring country debt.
Cryptocurrency rules, reforming multilateral development banks, international taxation and ensuring adequate financing to fight climate change are also on the agenda of the meetings, which will be attended by heads of the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
Sources told Reuters that India is also likely to table a proposal to form a G20 expert group to consider reforms at the World Bank and increase the global lender’s climate finance lending capacity in middle- and low-income countries.
(Reporting by Sarita Chaganti Singh, Shivangi Acharya, and Aftab Ahmed; Writing by Sudipto Ganguly and Shivam Patel; Editing by Krishna N. Das, Raju Gopalakrishnan, Alex Richardson, and Marguerita Choy)