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China raises objection to ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’; India says it’s the inspiration for G20 theme

China apparently was reluctant to accept the phrase, arguing that Sanskrit is not an official language of the UNO

NEW DELHI: Amid reports suggesting that China objected to the phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ at a G20 meeting as it was in Sanskrit (which is not an official language of the UN), India on Friday said it was the inspiration for the theme of the G20 under India’s Presidency.

“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.

In the outcome document after the G20 Energy Transistions Working Group meeting in Goa on 20th July, China apparently was reluctant to accept the phrase, arguing that Sanskrit was not recognised by the United Nations which has Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish as its official languages.

However, sources point out that China was the only exception as the other members saw nothing wrong with it.

Several members said that India as the chair of the G20 had the right to take a call on such matters.

However, even though the objections were raised orally, the Sanskrit phrase has been retained in the logo and letterhead of each document but the final document only had the English version.

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is the theme of India’s G20 presidency. It is inspired from the Maha Upanishad, an old Sanskrit scripture. The theme fundamentally highlights the importance of all life—human, animal, plant, and microorganism—as well as their interdependence on Earth and across the universe. The theme also exemplifies LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), which highlights the importance of environmentally sustainable and responsible lifestyle choices, both at the individual and national level, in creating a cleaner, greener, and bluer future.

The G20 Presidency also heralds for India the start of “Amritkaal,” a 25-year period commencing from the 75th anniversary of its independence on August 15, 2022, leading up to the centenary of its independence.

Meanwhile, India is now gearing up for the G20 Summit to be held in Delhi on September 9th and 10th.

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