Amid China's 'Objection', India Defends Use of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' Phrase in G20 Documents

China apparently objected to the use of Sanskrit in G20 documents and wanted India to stick to English, which is an UN official language.

New Delhi: India has defended the use of the Sanskrit phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family) in the G20 logo and letterhead of each document after reports emerged that China apparently objected to the use of non-English language in G20 documents.

The Ministry of External Affairs also clarified that it uses only the “English version” of the phrase – “One Earth, One Family, One Future” – in its summary documents and outcome statements, The Hindu reported.

“As you are aware, the theme of the G20 Presidency in English is ‘One Earth One Family One Future’. This is based on our civilisational ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam which has received widespread support and permeates many of the initiatives that India has brought to the G20 Agenda and this also finds a mention in the G20 logo which has the verse in Sanskrit and English,” said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Friday, August 11.

Apparently, China was reluctant to accept the usage of the Sanskrit phrase in the outcome document after the G20 Energy Transitions Working Group meeting held in Goa on July 20. China is said to have raised the point that Sanskrit cannot be used, for it is not recognised by the United Nations as an official language. The global body considers only Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish as its official languages.

The New Indian Express reported that China was the only one to raise objections while other member states saw nothing wrong with it. In fact, the others reportedly argued that India as the chair of the G20 had the right to take a call on such matters.

As per diplomatic sources, Chinese and Indian negotiators have been wrangling over the past few weeks with the former taking a “confrontational stance over several phrases introduced by the Indian G-20 Sherpa team”, the Hindu report said.

Among the sticking points are the language used for the promotion of millets such as the “Lifestyle for Environment” (LiFE) initiative, proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and even terms like “gender-led development”. The Chinese delegation alleged that such language amounted to supplanting UN-agreed language for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As a result, the language was changed to “Lifestyle for Sustainable Development” and “gender-equality” accordingly, in line with the UN-approved phrases.