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G20 meet in India kicks off with minute’s silence for Türkiye quake victims

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that multilateral institutions had failed to meet the world’s most pressing challenges while opening the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in New Delhi.

Thursday’s meeting began with a minute of silence to honour the victims of the devastating February 6 earthquakes in Türkiye that killed over 45,000 people and another over 5,800 in neighbouring Syria.

“We must all acknowledge that multilateralism is in crisis today,” Modi said in an opening recorded statement. 

“The experience of the last few years – financial crisis, climate change, pandemic, terrorism and wars – clearly shows that global governance has failed.”

While India shares Western concerns about China, it is also a major buyer of Russian arms and has ramped up Russian oil imports.

India has not condemned the Ukraine war, although Modi told Putin last year that this was “not a time for war” in comments seen as a rebuke to Moscow.

Modi implored G20 delegates to make the meeting a success while tacitly acknowledging the bloc’s deep divisions over the conflict.

“We should not allow issues that we cannot resolve together to come in the way of those we can,” he said.

READ MORE: G20 foreign ministers meet amid Ukraine war, US-China tensions

Ukraine war

The G20 gathering has brought US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the same room for the first time since July but the two men were unlikely to hold talks.

Western delegates fear China is considering supplying arms to its Russian ally and they will use the foreign ministers’ summit to discourage Beijing from intervening in the conflict.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he was confident India would use the meeting to “make Russia understand that this war has to finish”.

“Certainly the success of the meeting today will be measured in respect to what we will be able to do on that,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Borrell will meet on the sidelines of the New Delhi summit with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang where he will seek assurances that Beijing will not lend support to Russia’s war effort.

“Until now the answer has been clearly stated by China, ‘it hasnt happened and it won’t happen,’ but we have to remain vigilant,” said a senior EU official with knowledge of the matter.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua last week quoted top diplomat Wang Yi as saying Beijing was willing to “strengthen strategic coordination” with Russia after meeting Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. 

READ MORE: Putin: Russia against new world built only in US interests

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