G20 Declaration: Shashi Tharoor Lauds Amitabh Kant For 200-Hour Negotiations; Meet Officers Who Assisted Him

New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has lauded India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant for ‘200 hours of non-stop negotiations’ to deliver a consensus on the G20 declaration that was adopted at the 18th Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi on Saturday.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Tharoor wrote, “Well done ⁦@amitabhk87! Looks like the IFS lost an ace diplomat when you opted for the IAS! “Negotiated with Russia, China, only last night got a final draft,” says India’s G20 Sherpa on ‘Delhi Declaration’ consensus. A proud moment for India at G20!”

According to reports, a team of diplomats, including joint secretaries Eenam Gambhir and Nagaraj Naidu Kakanur, held 300 bilateral meetings and circulated 15 drafts with their counterparts on the contentious Ukraine conflict to ensure a joint communique from G20 leaders. The final draft was sent to the G20 members on Friday night, saying if the group leaders did not agree to it, there would be no declaration. There were multiple discussions with developing economies about the war’s economic impact to bilateral meets with Russia and China and the consensus was only reached late on Friday, Kant told NDTV.

“Our concern was that development issues are far more important than war issues… finally we negotiated with G7 countries, then Russia and China. Only last night we submitted the final draft.”

“We took it to the last minute… at that (final) sherpa meeting I said, ‘This is the final draft and you either take it or the deal drops.’ I also told them, ‘If anyone has any objection, your leader can talk to my leader.’ So, I pulled in the weight of the PM at that time,” the report quoted him as saying.

Sharing a picture of him with the two officers, Kant also wrote on X (formally Twitter): “The most complex part of the entire #G20 was to bring consensus on the geopolitical paras (Russia-Ukraine). This was done over 200 hours of non-stop negotiations, 300 bilateral meetings, 15 drafts. In this, I was greatly assisted by two brilliant officers -@NagNaidu08 &@eenamg.”

While avoiding mentioning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the G20 Declaration, which is being hailed as both historic and groundbreaking, places a strong emphasis on fostering robust and sustainable economic growth, expediting advancements towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals, establishing a green development pact to promote environmental sustainability, and revitalising the spirit of multilateralism while following the principle of respecting each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Emerging economies such as Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia played a leading role as India managed to hammer out the unexpected consensus, the reports added.


Eenam Gambhir, a 2005-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is currently serving as a joint secretary G20 and the ministry of external affairs, New Delhi. She earlier served as a senior adviser on Peace and Security issues in the Office of the President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN HQ in New York and in Indian embassies in Latin American countries such as Mexico and Argentina. Gambhir also handled issues relating to India’s neighbourhood – Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran while working in New Delhi from 2011 till 2016 and later served in the permanent mission of India to the UN in New York and covered political and peace and security issues till June 2019.

Nagaraj Naidu Kakanur, the Chinese speaker in the team, was the lead negotiator on the Ukraine conflict paragraphs. The 1998-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, served in China in four separate stints. He has formidable multilateral experience as Chef de Cabinet to the President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He was the Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, and used to lead Yoga Day celebrations being an expert in Yoga.


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