India welcomes world leaders as G20 summit kicks off on Saturday

In anticipation of the two-day summit, India\’s top G20 officials chose not to delve into the details of contentious issues such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict and climate-related concerns. During a press briefing held on the eve of the summit, they expressed optimism that the Declaration was nearing finalization and anticipated reaching a consensus on a joint communique.

Leaders from the G20, including prominent figures like United States President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and heads of major international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), congregated in India\’s capital city for the summit, scheduled to commence on Saturday.

Upon their arrival, these leaders were warmly welcomed with traditional dance performances. Even Kristalina Georgieva, the Chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), enthusiastically joined in the festivities, dancing to the rhythm of the music at the airport.

To ensure the security of the event, stringent measures were put in place across the national capital, with a particular focus on the New Delhi district. This summit marks India\’s inaugural hosting of the gathering of 19 countries and the European Union, representing the world\’s major developed and emerging economies.

Amitabh Kant, India\’s G20 sherpa, stressed that the New Delhi Leaders\’ Declaration would reflect the voices of the global south and developing nations. He refrained from disclosing specific details, indicating that the actual achievements of the declaration would be discussed once it gained the leaders\’ approval during the summit.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra expressed optimism regarding a consensus on the communique, notwithstanding concerns about the potential complications arising from the Ukraine conflict.

One notable highlight of India\’s presidency is the widespread support among G20 countries for India\’s proposal to grant the African Union permanent membership in the bloc. This proposal received positive responses, indicating agreement among leaders.

The likelihood of a joint leaders\’ declaration was uncertain due to sharp differences between Western nations and the Russia-China alliance regarding the phrasing related to the Ukraine conflict.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed hope that India\’s G20 presidency would drive transformative changes and emphasized the necessity of addressing the growing divisions and declining trust in the world. He urged G20 leaders to exhibit leadership on climate issues and the pursuit of sustainable development goals.

Regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Guterres expressed skepticism about an immediate peace solution.

The United Kingdom emphasized India\’s role in the G20 summit discussions, particularly concerning human rights and democracy. They encouraged India to use its influence to address the Ukraine situation.

Regarding the joint leaders\’ declaration, President of the European Council Charles Michel indicated that ongoing negotiations were taking place.

The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that the G7 countries were exerting pressure on India to incorporate their unilateral approaches to the Ukraine situation into the final G20 summit documents.

Prime Minister Modi invoked Mahatma Gandhi\’s mission of serving the underprivileged and underscored India\’s human-centric approach to progress. India\’s G20 presidency theme, \’Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One Earth, One Family, One Future,\’ resonated with the concept of the world as one global family.

Modi expressed confidence in the New Delhi G20 Summit\’s ability to chart a new path toward human-centric and inclusive development. He highlighted his role in chairing sessions on various topics, including strong, sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth.

The city was adorned with marigold garlands on trees lining the roads traveled by heads of state and foreign delegates, creating a festive atmosphere.

Officials indicated optimism for positive outcomes at the summit, particularly concerning India\’s proposals related to digital public infrastructure, climate finance, sustainable development, and clean energy.

In addition to the G20 member nations, India extended invitations to leaders from Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Singapore, Oman, Nigeria, and the Netherlands.

India assumed the G20 presidency on December 1, 2022, and conducted approximately 200 meetings throughout the country on its priority areas. The G20 member countries collectively represent a substantial portion of global GDP, trade, and population, rendering it a crucial platform for addressing global challenges.

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