New Delhi/ Washington: US President Joe Biden said he was looking forward to his trip to India this week but is “disappointed” that China’s President Xi Jinping would not attend the G20 Summit at New Delhi. Biden will travel to India on September 7 to participate in the summit and will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 8 on the sidelines of the historic meeting, the White House announced on Friday.
Ahead of his trip, reporters asked Biden Sunday whether he was looking forward to his visits to India and Vietnam. “Yes, I am,” Biden replied.
On Xi not attending the summit, he said, “I am disappointed, but I am going to get to see him.”
Elsewhere, China confirmed on Monday that Xi will not be attending the summit in New Delhi on September 9 and 10, and announced that Premier Li Qiang will attend in his place.
Beijing said Li will travel to New Delhi after attending the Asean and East Asia summits in Jakarta, which will also be attended by Prime Minister Modi.
In all, heads of state/government of 17 of the 20 G-20 members are believed to have so far confirmed their participation at the summit to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Russia had said it would be represented by its foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. It is understood that the President of Mexico, a G-20 member, hasn’t attended the G-20 summit since 2018.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier told Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his inability to attend but had said Moscow would be represented by Mr. Lavrov.
The G-20, or Group of Twenty, is an “intergovernmental forum of the world’s major developed and developing economies and comprises 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the US) and the European Union (EU)” Collectively, the G-20 “accounts for 85 per cent of global GDP, 75 per cent of international trade and two-thirds of the world’s population, making it the premier forum for international economic cooperation”.
Prime Minister Narendra had earlier sought full membership of the G-20 grouping for the African Union (AU), a “continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African continent”. The AU is expected to be granted membership of the G-20 at the Delhi summit, which will make the grouping a “G-21”.
India, as the G-20 president, has also invited Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the UAE as guest countries and most leaders of these countries are expected to attend.