Grand test for Indian diplomacy as American, Chinese and Russian ministers meet in Delhi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at last year's G20 Leaders Summit in Indonesia.

New Delhi (CNN)Foreign ministers from the world's biggest economies convened in New Delhi Thursday in what was seen as a grand test for Indian diplomacy, which ultimately didn't succeed in reaching a consensus because of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In the second high-level ministerial meeting under India's Group of 20 (G20) presidency this year, foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, met his American, Chinese and Russian counterparts, hoping to find enough common ground to deliver a joint statement at the end of the summit.
But amid festering divisions over Moscow's war, New Delhi was unable to convince the leaders to put their differences aside, with Jaishankar admitting the conflict had struggled to unite the group.
    India, the world's largest democracy with a population of more than 1.3 billion, has been keen to position itself as a leader of emerging and developing nations -- often referred to as the Global South -- at a time when soaring food and energy prices as a result of the war are hammering consumers already grappling with rising costs and inflation.
      Those sentiments were front and center during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's opening remarks earlier Thursday, when he spoke of multiples crises the world faces, with less wealthy nations hit especially hard.
        "The experience of the last few years, the financial crisis, climate change, the pandemic, terrorism and wars clearly shows that global governance has failed," Modi said.
        "We must also admit that the tragic consequences of this failure are being faced most over by the developing countries," who he says are most affected by global warming "caused by richer countries".
          Eluding to the war in Ukraine, Modi acknowledged the conflict was causing "deep global divisions." But he encouraged the foreign ministers to put differences aside during their meeting Thursday.
          "We should not allow issues that we cannot resolve together to come in the way of those we can," he said.
          G20 flags in New Delhi on February 28, 2023.
          US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the summit, according to a State Department official traveling with Blinken.
          Blinken and Lavrov spoke for roughly 10 minutes, the same official said.
          Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed to CNN that the meeting took place but played down its significance.
          "Blinken asked for contact with Lavrov. On the go, as part of the second session of the twenty, Sergey Viktorovich (Lavrov) talked. There were no negotiations, meetings, etc," she said.
          Deep disagreements over Russia's invasion of Ukraine played out in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru last month as well, when G20 finance chiefs failed to agree on a statement after their meeting.
          Both Russia and China declined to sign the joint statement, which criticized Moscow's invasion. That left India to issue a "chair's summary and outcome document" in which it summed up the two days of talks and acknowledged disagreements.
          Analysts say that throughout the war New Delhi has deftly balanced its ties to Russia and the West, with Modi emerging as a leader who has been courted by all sides.
          But as the war enters its second year, and tensions continue to rise, pressure could mount on countries, including India, to take a firmer stand against Russia -- putting Modi's statecraft to the test.

          India's balancing act

          Arguably India's most celebrated event of the year, the G20 summit has been heavily promoted domestically, with sprawling billboards featuring Modi's face plastered across the country. Roads have been cleaned and buildings freshly painted ahead of the dignitaries' visit.
          Taking place in the "mother of democracies" under Modi's leadership, his political allies have been keen to push his international