India’s G20 Summit, held in the disputed territory of Kashmir, encountered significant challenges when key nations such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and China decided to boycott the event. This is a first such gathering since India unilaterally brought Kashmir under direct control in August 2019. This turn of events has had critical implications, not only for the credibility and prowess of India but also for the impact of the G20 Summit on a global scale.
The decision by these nations to boycott the summit highlights the ongoing tensions and conflicts surrounding the status of Kashmir. By refusing to participate, they have sent a clear message of non-recognition or support for India’s occupation in the region.
In an effort to fully integrate the disputed Muslim-majority territory into India, the Indian government stripped it of semi-autonomy and divided it into two federal regions in 2019. The conference was intended to demonstrate to Indian officials that the contentious reforms had brought “peace and prosperity” to the area and that it is a secure location for tourists. However, the show was different. In order to safeguard the event locations and a major display of security at Srinagar International Airport, police and paramilitary personnel were assisted by India’s elite National Security Guard, including its counter-drone squad and marine commandos.
China has said that it will not go, citing its steadfast objection to “holding any kind of G20 meetings in disputed territory.” Pakistan, which also claims Kashmir but is not a G20 member, criticized the gathering in April as being irresponsible. Additionally, Egypt and Indonesia also boycotted the summit.
The decision by these nations to boycott the summit highlights the ongoing tensions and conflicts surrounding the status of Kashmir. By refusing to participate, they have sent a clear message of non-recognition or support for India’s occupation in the region. This boycott has dealt a blow to India’s efforts to project itself as a global leader and has undermined its credibility among the international community.
Furthermore, the absence of major players like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and China has significantly lessened the impact and relevance of the G20 Summit. These nations hold significant economic, political, and strategic influence, and their participation is vital for shaping global policies and addressing key global challenges. Their absence has diminished the diversity and inclusivity of perspectives that the G20 Summit aims to foster, weakening the overall effectiveness of the forum.
Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, alleged that India had transformed the area into a replica of Guantánamo Bay’s prison in order to host a conference on tourism. Additionally, she charged that the G20 had been seized by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for commercial gain. In 2019, India partitioned the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir into two federally controlled territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Ladakh is a contested border territory between India and China, with both countries claiming sections of it.
Fernand de Varennes, the UN’s special rapporteur on minority problems, claimed that the G20 was “unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a facade of normalcy” at a time when Kashmir was experiencing an increase in human rights abuses, political persecution, and wrongful arrests. He said that the gathering risks normalising what some have called a military occupation. The remark was condemned as unfounded by India’s permanent representation to the United Nations in Geneva. The mission stated that it was India’s sovereignty to convene G20 meetings in any area of the nation.
The G20 presidency is cycled between members each year, and the Indian presidency was always going to be contentious given India’s close commercial ties with Russia and the Modi administration’s desire to shield Russia from G20 criticism over Ukraine. Kyiv has requested to attend a summit, but the Indian government claims Ukraine is irrelevant to the status of the world economy, which is the G20’s primary goal, or to the G20’s chosen core agenda topics of inclusive growth, debt restructuring, and climate financing. Instead of attending the G20 conference, Vladimir Putin sent his senior foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.
Moreover, the boycott highlights the growing concerns and criticisms surrounding India’s handling of the Kashmir issue. It underscores the international community’s reservations regarding India’s occupation and raises questions about the legitimacy of holding such a significant international event in a disputed territory. This development further exacerbates tensions and reinforces the need for a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict.
The implications of this boycott extend beyond the immediate event. It challenges India’s diplomatic efforts and its ability to garner support and consensus on important global issues. The boycott also serves as a reminder that addressing regional disputes and upholding the principles of international law are crucial for maintaining global stability and credibility.
This boycott has dealt a blow to India’s efforts to project itself as a global leader and has undermined its credibility among the international community. The boycott also serves as a reminder that addressing regional disputes and upholding the principles of international law are crucial for maintaining global stability and credibility.
The boycott of India’s G20 Summit by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and China and others due to its location in the disputed territory of Kashmir has had profound implications. It has significantly undermined India’s credibility and prowess, while also diminishing the impact and relevance of the G20 Summit on a global scale. This development highlights the pressing need for a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict and serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding international norms and principles in global affairs.
The presidency of the G20 is rotated between members each year and the Indian presidency was always likely to prove controversial as India has close trading links with Russia and the Modi administration is keen to protect Russia from criticism by western members of the G20 over Ukraine. Kyiv has asked to attend a summit in September but the Indian government is arguing Ukraine is not relevant to the state of the world economy as the central purpose of the G20 or to its chosen key agenda items of inclusive growth, debt restructuring and climate finance. Vladimir Putin did not attend the G20 summit instead sent his veteran foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.
Asma Khan Durrani is an Islamabad-based expert in Strategic Affairs. She is a student of Defence and Strategic Studies. She has done M.Phil. from SPIR Quaid-I-Azam University Islamabad. She has also been published internationally. She tweets @AsmaKhan_47 Mailed @ firstname.lastname@example.org