In recent days, the G20 Summit of Heads of State and Government took place, the most important forum for international economic cooperation, in which the 19 economically most important countries in the world as well as the European Union take part. It should be recalled that this Forum brings together countries and economies representing two-thirds of the world’s population, three-quarters of total trade and 85% of global GDP.
This summit was the eighteenth in the organization’s history and took place in New Delhi, India. In Mexico, the meeting went virtually unnoticed despite its membership in the G-20. This is largely due to the absence of Mexico’s head of state, who is known to typically avoid such meetings, preferring to delegate the country’s participation to a Cabinet-level representative. From a global political perspective, some interesting situations occurred at the summit that are worth analyzing and commenting on.
First of all, the absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who recently took part in another summit, that of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), was noticeable. This absence, which is very notable since it was the first during his term, has been interpreted in two different ways: on the one hand, it could be a certain discomfort with the host country, with which China has had some differences in the past; On the other hand, it could be more of a signal from the Chinese president that he has preferences for the terrain in which he wants to conduct international politics, suggesting that he prefers, or at least feels more comfortable with, a meeting like the one held by the BRICS one of the leading countries and in which it can pursue international politics with the so-called Global South.
Another interesting, if unexpected, outcome was the announcement on the sidelines of the meeting that a major trade corridor would be created between India, the Middle East and Europe. This agreement, promoted by India, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the European Union, consists of an ambitious investment project in land and sea communications between these regions. The first part of the project will connect India with the Middle East, with significant investments that will connect India by sea to the United Arab Emirates and from there by land through Saudi, Arab and Jordanian territory to Israel. The second part will connect the Middle East with Europe by sea, from Israel to Greece and from there to the entire European Union.
This major railway and port infrastructure project is undoubtedly the Western alternative to China’s proposal for a new Silk Road (the so-called Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, to use its English acronym). If the India-Europe corridor project succeeds, it will represent a major economic and political blow to China, limiting not only the scope of its initiative but also its global influence through trade and the multi-million dollar investments associated with it will be carried out as part of his initiative.
In fact, this was not the only blow that China and its grand project suffered as part of the G20 summit, as at this meeting Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced her country’s withdrawal from the Silk Road Initiative. Italy’s withdrawal from this project is not insignificant, as this country was the only member of the G-7 to give its consent. Let us remember that the G-7 brings together the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan as countries that share the principles of liberal democracy. In this sense, Italy’s withdrawal from support for the BRI is a sign of the political realignment that has taken place in recent years, among other things, as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The extent to which the G-20 summit was a political defeat for China can also be seen in the fact that two of the new countries admitted as part of BRICS+ just last month, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are actually playing a strategic role in the India-Middle East-Europe corridor trade alternative. Therefore, the BRICS alternative that seems to favor China in the global geopolitical body does not seem to be entirely in line with its own interests.
Furthermore, India, a founding member of the BRICS, is at the center of this entire dispute over the global trade networks of the future and seems to have decided to move closer to the West with the announcement of the new corridor. It is possible that all of these situations we have described will help better understand the reason for the Chinese leader’s absence from the G-20 summit. Going forward, Mexico and Latin American countries must carefully consider their moves in a world as complex as the current one.
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