Amidst India-Canada row, Trudeau to join India’s virtual G20 summit

| Updated: 22 November, 2023 12:45 pm IST

NEW DELHI: As the current chair of the G20, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to lead a virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit on Wednesday, focusing on providing guidance and discussions related to the implementation of the New Delhi Declaration. The announcement came from G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant during a press briefing in New Delhi.

Kant highlighted the success of the 18th G20 Leaders’ Summit held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10. The event witnessed the unanimous adoption of the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, emphasising the commitment of G20 leaders to address global challenges comprehensively and decisively.

Kant stated that the previous summit produced 87 outcomes and 118 attached documents, totalling 205 actions that required pursuit. Prime Minister Modi had proposed a virtual reconvening towards the end of India’s G20 presidency to advance the guidance provided by leaders during the initial summit.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra expressed optimism about a high level of participation in the virtual summit, mirroring the quality involvement seen in the physical summit held in September. While he did not confirm specific leaders’ attendance, Kwatra expected a large majority of G20 leaders to join the discussions.

Despite diplomatic tensions between India and Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to attend the virtual summit, following his allegations against New Delhi, which India has labelled as “absurd and baseless.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin will also be part of the virtual summit, a notable change from his absence during the New Delhi G20 Summit in September. However, Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to skip the event, with Premier Li Qiang representing China.

G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant, describing the upcoming virtual summit as rare and exceptional, said, “No other presidency has had a physical meeting of all the leaders and then a virtual meeting. In addition to all this, as you all are aware, the Prime Minister has hosted two sessions of the Voice of Global South Summit this year which was co-ordinated by the Foreign Secretary.

“So, actually, India has held four such meetings in a single year with the participation of over 150 world leaders which clearly demonstrates the convening power of India and the leadership of the Prime Minister at the global level. The Virtual Summit of the G20, being held tomorrow, will also be a major gathering of world leaders since the conclusion of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly High Level Week and the SDG Summit.”

Kant also emphasised the focus on climate change and the adoption of green energy during the summit, aligning with the goals of the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP28. He outlined key expected outcomes, including the G20 consensus on tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030 and doubling the global rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030.

In conclusion, Kant highlighted India’s advocacy for digital health and progress on artificial intelligence within the G20, citing discussions on these topics at the Leaders’ level during the New Delhi summit. The virtual summit is anticipated to be a crucial platform for global leaders to address pressing issues and collaborate on shared goals.

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