The G20 Presidency of India is deemed to be of utmost significance, particularly during the present times when the world faces various challenges such as the conflict in Ukraine, disruptions in the global food supply, and China’s progressively assertive behavior on the international stage. This statement was made by the UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, who also revealed his plans to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in New Delhi next week and engage with associates from around the world.
It is noteworthy that India took over the Presidency of G20 on December 1 of the previous year.
During an exclusive interview with PTI on Friday, James Cleverly, the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs of the UK, expressed his satisfaction with India’s significant global presence, not only in terms of economic prosperity but also diplomatic influence. He also expressed his pride in the longstanding relationship between India and the UK.
On the same day, Cleverly participated in a high-level UN Security Council debate on the Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine, held on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Cleverly acknowledged that this year is incredibly important due to conflicts in Ukraine, disruptions in global food supply, and China’s increasingly assertive behavior on the world stage. He emphasized that India’s G20 Presidency is of great significance in such a context.
Expressing his well wishes for India’s G20 Presidency, James Cleverly stated his desire for India to succeed in addressing the entire range of issues confronting the world, not just the ones that may currently dominate the headlines.
Furthermore, Cleverly confirmed his attendance at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in New Delhi scheduled for March 1st and 2nd. He will be joined by other high-profile attendees, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. This meeting is taking place just a week after the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine conflict.
James Cleverly, the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs of the UK, highlighted his enthusiasm for joining the Foreign Ministers of the G20 in New Delhi next week, emphasizing that this is an opportunity for the UK to engage with partners from across the globe, including in the Indo-Pacific.
He stressed that the UK’s posture towards the Indo-Pacific will be an increasingly important part of their long-term foreign policy, with relationships with India, Indonesia, and other countries in the region being instrumental in supporting their own and their friends’ prosperity and security.
Regarding possible bilateral discussions with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during the Foreign Ministers meeting, Cleverly acknowledged that Jaishankar would be busy as the host Foreign Minister but expressed his hope of having a brief meeting with him. He also mentioned that the UK and India are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement and working together on renewable energy generation, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection.
Furthermore, Cleverly joked that he and Jaishankar might even have a chance to discuss cricket. When asked about the UK’s view of China’s aggressive behavior in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, Cleverly stated that London has conveyed to Beijing that it is an important and significant international player.