Modi who was supposed to attend the Cornwall summit of G-7 Leaders in person, had decided against travel to Britain after cases of covid-19 infections spiked in India in April-May.
NEW DELHI :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be speaking at three sessions of the G-7 Summit hosted by Britain over the weekend, the themes of which are “Building Back Stronger," “Building Back Together" and “Building Back Greener" respectively.
Modi who was supposed to attend the Cornwall summit of G-7 Leaders in person, had decided against travel to Britain after cases of covid-19 infections spiked in India in April-May. The prime minister will participate in the summit virtually.
The G7 is made up of the US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Representatives from the European Union also attend the 11-13 June meeting.
Besides India, South Korea, South Africa and Australia will attend parts of the summit as guests.
Ahead of the start of the meeting on Friday, G-7 Leaders had begun arriving at the summit venue in Carbis Bay in southwestern Britain. This is the first in person meeting of G-7 leaders – representing the world’s most advanced economies – in two years.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is the host of the summit given that Britain holds the rotating presidency of the G-7 this year.
India had on 11 May conveyed Modi’s inability to travel to Britain for the event to which Johnson had responded saying he understood the situation and supported the Indian prime minister’s decision to stay in India. He had then assured that all efforts would be made to ensure Modi’s participation in the Summit was seamless – as “if he were actually in the room" said a person familiar with the matter. Accordingly the outreach sessions where India and other guest countries are to participate will be in hybrid format.
Ahead of the summit, India had engaged closely with the G7 on several tracks – health, climate and environment, digital technology and economic resilience.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had represented India at the Health Ministers’ meeting on 4 June. India has also been involved in working level meetings.
Environment Minister Prakash Javedekar had participated in the meetings on climate change and environment on 21 May. India has been closely engaged with the UK and other G7 nations on issues including on areas for collaboration in the run up to 26th UN Conference of Parties meet in Britain in November.
The ministerial meet on digital technology was attended by telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on 29 April. Indian officials have also participated in other discussions on cyber governance and regulation.
The G-7 meeting on Economic Resilience was attended by Principal Economic Advisor, Sanjeev Sanyal as an observer. The panel had discussed ways to strengthen resilience of global supply chains and preserve a free and open multilateral trading system.
India first took part in the G-7’s Outreach Session in 2003 when then Prime Minister Atal behari Vajpayee was invited by the then French Presidency. The focus of that session was on climate change and global economic growth.
Between 2005-2009, India had been invited to G-7 meets’ Outreach Sessions annually and these were attended by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In 2019, France invited Prime Minister Modi to the G7 ‘Biarritz Summit’ in 2019 as “a Goodwill Partner" and the Indian prime minister participated in two Outreach Sessions one on climate change and the second on digital transformation. Former US president Donald Trump had invited Modi to attend the G7 Outreach session in Camp David scheduled for June 2020 under the US Presidency but it was cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic.
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