Russia‘s G20 sherpa Svetlana Lukash says there is no place and time in the all-powerful group to discuss one regional conflict that has dominated the minds of western nations. In an interview to TOI, she said many G20 countries are concerned about the banking crisis and it should be analysed. Excerpts:
How is the mood inside with regard to Russia?
The G20 agenda is much broader and much more important than one issue, which is in the interest of a limited group of countries. The world faces unprecedented challenges right now. We have fragmentation in global trade, we have high inflation, we have disrupted global value chains after the pandemic that threatens global growth. We have highly indebted countries especially when it is least developed and low-income countries and we have low progress in implementing the sustainable development goals. With these global challenges, G20’s efforts are needed to solve these issues to provide coordinated action. There is no place and time in G20 to discuss one regional conflict that has dominated the minds of our Western colleagues.

Do you think the attitude towards Russia is better?
I don’t think that the attitude towards Russia was bad or good at some point. Colleagues from different countries have their own views and likewise, we state our views. That is our job, we speak around the table openly and discuss issues. I don’t feel any pressure so I don’t think the situation has changed somehow. G20 has always been an unique platform for cooperation, and communication at the sherpa level is something more than just a regular dialogue of diplomats.
Is there a possibility of moving towards consensus, keeping political issues aside? Will G7 agree?
I am not sure. It up to them to decide. But in the face of the global challenges that I mentioned, G20 must do its job. It must analyse the instability in the financial markets, the banking collapse in the US and some spillovers to the European banking system that is much more important. If the G20 spends all the time discussing political issues, and misses the real beginning of a possible new crisis, that would be a fault which the world will not forgive.
How do you see India steering G20 presidency?
India is doing a great job. I can only praise India for first, the agenda it put forward. Second, for being such an efficient and just moderator of the discussions.
Do you see the strong G7 stand persisting here?
It is indeed. The G7 has coordinated views on many issues, including on political issues. We have an open discussion. Again, the major focus including G7 partners is on India’s presidency’s agenda and priorities and today 99% of our attention was on digital public infrastructure, on issues of education, tourism and culture and we are proceeding to discussing trade and agriculture and other topics.

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