With Russia-Ukraine conflict looming large over the G20 Bali Summit later this month, Indonesia’s ambassador to India Ina Krisnamurthi has emphasised the need for ‘dialogue’ . The summit will take place at the Nusa Dua Convention Center in Bali on November 15 and 16.
Speaking to WION’s Principal Diplomatic Correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Ambassador Krisnamurthi said,”One of the principles Indonesia’s presidency has is that dialogue in whatever form is more important than no dialogue whatsoever”.
Indonesia has extended invite to both the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to attend the mega summit.
This year’s summit is important for India as the presidency of the grouping will be handed over to New Delhi. India, as the president of the grouping for a period of one year, will host the summit in September next year. Asked about the hopes regarding India’s presidency, Ambassador said, “I believe India will champion the G20 presidency in the future.”
Together, the G20 members represent more than 80 per cent of world’s GDP, 75 per cent of international trade and 60 per cent of the world population. It emerged primarily as an economic grouping after the 2008 financial crisis and has taken on a political role as well amid a dysfunctional United Nations Security Council.
WION: What preparations are underway to host this big-ticket summit?
Ina Krisnamurthi: Logistically, efforts are on to ensure that all guests are welcomed properly, and they feel at home during the stay in Bali. Security wise, Bali is one of the most secure places. It is an island, a destination very close to the hearts of the Indian people, culturally, historically. My leaders, president, minister of finance, foreign affairs, coordinating minister for economy, maritime all are trying their best in coordinating efforts to make G20 a success.
WION: What will be the key focus area under the Indonesian Presidency for the grouping?
Ina Krisnamurthi: Throughout the year, since December 2021, when we received handover from Italy, we had three priorities — health, governance and digital economy and energy. We push forward for any effort, any policy implemented to and for G20 members, and we keep that promise. Although it is not an easy period for G20 because of the global dynamics, we push forward for that. That is with two principles in mind, which is that we want a stronger multilateral forum, and want to have a very inclusive way of decision which is why we included pacific island countries in our deliberation. Priorities are done throughout the year, and we will not change that for the summit.
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WION: How significant is it for your country? Because so far countries who have hosted the summit are developed countries and with Indonesia it is the start of developing countries hosting the summit.
Ina Krisnamurthi: Until 2025, G20 will be headed by emerging economies, so for sure the presidency of G20 is very important because we make an effort for the interest of the emerging economies to be heard, listened to in the G20 format. This presidency is also important because the pandemic resulted in a very severe economic situation for everyone and the worst victims have been emerging economies, less developed countries. For sure, G20 is very important for Indonesia because Indonesia is experiencing turbulence in its economy while we experience the pandemic. We have priorities, like health governance, so that we are more prepared for future pandemic.
Second is digital economy…During the pandemic, we have survived and thrived due to digital economy.
Third issue is more and more important. It is food, energy, water security with climate change. It is becoming key element for progress and development for our community and society.
WION: What challenge do you see for the G20 summit, in front of you, even as the Russia-Ukraine conflict has been having its impact?
Ina Krisnamurthi: One of the principles Indonesia’s presidency has is that dialogue in whatever form is more important than no dialogue whatsoever. People coming in one room to discuss matters, common concerns are more important than thinking about 2-3 parties’ interests.
Throughout the presidency for Indonesia, bridging all interests is making everyone come in the same room, to develop dialogue, to discuss the common interest. That is why we have priorities we keep putting forth for whatever reason the global dynamics is. The challenge to bridge the tension, differences, yes, it is very challenging. But at the same time, if we do not sit together in one same room, the challenge or the problem or the matter will not go away. Pandemic also teaches us that no one is securely safe from the pandemic. Everyone experiences the pandemic. Everyone can’t live by themselves; everyone needs support to survive the pandemic. Bridging the pandemic is not about making sure everyone has one interest. At least we tried to come up with an avenue for everyone to sit together, to do the dialogue.
WION: Do you expect a family photo, the western leaders and the Russian President to be together?
Ina Krisnamurthi: I think, all are in the eyes of the beholder because the photo ops are not actually substantive in nature, that is my personal opinion. Because the family photo is only a family photo opportunity and doesn’t show anything. More than 20 people coming on one stage and taking pictures, does not show anything. The reason for them to come to Bali and sit together, that is more substantial for us rather than family photos. It is not important for family photos to happen or to not happen. The most important thing is that the G20 becomes an avenue for everyone to just state views, state opinions on what to do for the world for a better international community.
WION: Have President Putin, President Zelensky confirmed that they will come to Bali?
Ina Krisnamurthi: Well, the last information, you can find in open media, that my president did not even say who is coming and when they are coming. But for sure, we are trying our best. Even my President is taking calls from leaders. During G7 meetings, he made an effort for everyone to understand Indonesia’s position and for Indonesia to understand everyone’s position on certain issues, so avenue of dialogue is there. We have seen efforts by my minister, foreign minister and also finance minister to just go and have meetings. You may know, the G20 is the only prime economic framework for leaders to sit down and think about the future of the world.
WION: Are you hopeful of a breakthrough in Bali, in terms of the leaders coming together, do you see President Putin, Zelensky meeting?
Ina Krisnamurthi: For the bilateral meetings, I believe, many bilaterals. Even to sit down in the same room and speak, maybe not to each other, but speaking on behalf of the G20 is a breakthrough.
WION: How do you see the Indian presidency of the grouping that will be handed over from you?
Ina Krisnamurthi: I think the most interesting part for the Indian presidency is that the troika is the historical troika because in the first time of the history of G20, the troika would consist of three emerging economies…For India it is very historical. I have seen how the internet goes crazy with minister Jaishankar going around the world and explaining about India’s policy. I think his way of leadership for sure will be a good way for India to lead the G20 into a better position in the future. Unfortunately, India, Indonesia hope that the challenge we experience will be completed before India’s presidency but unfortunately-not. The problem of food, energy, and water security is still there. India is among the best in making sure the emerging economies experience the same positive impact. I believe India will champion the G20 presidency in the future.
WION: Why was Bali chosen for the G20 summit?
Ina Krisnamurthi: During Covid, Bali for us was the worst victim of pandemic. More than 90% of its economy depends so much on tourism. We need to help our brothers and sisters in Bali to overcome this challenge. Secondly, Indonesia has hosted events at the summit level, including WTO ministerial, APEC. We believe that Bali has a certain vibrancy. Everyone coming to the island has certain comfortability and at the end the meeting is successful, and the outcome is also substantive. This is why Bali is the host of the G20 summit.
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