Britain has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the G7 summit, which UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use to discuss with the head of the governments from the world’s leading democracies ways to recover from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as climate change and how the world can benefit from open trade, technological changes and scientific discoveries.
India is not a member of the G-7 bloc that comprises seven countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, and the United States- termed as seven of the ‘largest’ advanced economics in the world, but the G-7 host nation can invite other nations as guests to the summit.
The summit will be held in Cornwall between 11-13 June and the UK will use its G7 presidency to “unite leading democracies to help the world build back better from coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future,” according to a statement from the British high commission in New Delhi.
“As the pharmacy of the world, India already supplies more than 50% of the world’s vaccines, and the UK and India have worked closely together throughout the pandemic. Our prime ministers speak regularly and Prime Minister Johnson has said he will visit India ahead of the G7,” it said. Australia and South Korea have also been invited as guest countries to the first G7 Summit in almost two years. It will also be US president elect Joe Biden’s first G7 meet given that he is to be sworn in on 20 January.
India, Australia and South Korea have been invited as guest countries to “deepen the expertise and experience around the table” the British high commission said. The invitations to the three countries are also a “testament to the UK’s commitment to ensuring multilateral institutions better reflect today’s world”, it said.
The high commission added: “UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use the first in-person G-7 summit in almost two years to ask leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to seize the opportunity to build back better from the coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener and more prosperous.” It further said: “Prime Ministers and Presidents from the world’s leading democracies will come together in the UK in June to address shared challenges, from beating coronavirus and tackling climate change, to ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change and scientific discovery.
Britain also said: “The (British) Prime Minister’s ambition is to use the G-7 to intensify cooperation between the world’s democratic and technologically advanced nations. Between them the 10 leaders represent over 60 per cent of the people living in democracies around the world.”
It may also be recalled the British PM had last month initially accepted India’s invite to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26 but had announced cancellation of his visit earlier this month due to the pandemic and the “speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading” in Britain. Nevertheless, political ties between the two nations have strengthened enormously under Modi and Johnson. Last month, the foreign ministers of the two nations had held discussions in New Delhi on five broad themes — connecting people, trade, defence and security, climate and health including the cooperation on the Covid vaccines, with both nations also “agreeing on key elements of a 10-year India-UK roadmap”.