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Climate change, Covid pandemic in focus as PM Modi meets world leaders at G20 Summit

PM Modi met world leaders during his three-day visit to Rome for the G20 Summit. He will now attend the COP26 Summit in Glasgow and also meet UK PM Boris Johnson.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stepped up global networking to pre-pandemic levels as he met a whole host of world leaders during his three-day visit to Rome for the G20 Summit. He also attended a crucial meeting on supply chain resilience hosted by US President Joe Biden before leaving for Glasgow for the COP26 Summit.

Apart from bilateral meetings, Prime Minister had two important pull-asides with Biden as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

During his meetings with the world leaders, Prime Minister Modi discussed a wide range of issues, including climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic management.

In his address at the G20 Summit, the Prime Minister said, “To fight the global corona pandemic, we have put forward the vision of ‘One Earth-One Health’ to the world. This vision can become a great strength for the world to deal with any such crisis in future.”

He invited the member countries “to make India their trusted partner in their economic recovery and supply chain diversification.”

On Covid-19 vaccines, he informed the G20 leaders that India is “preparing to produce more than 5 billion vaccine doses for the world next year.”

According to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, who is also the G20 Sherpa for India, the summit has delivered a strong message of recovery from the pandemic across pillars of health, economy, employment, education, tourism, and climate action.

On climate change, Goyal said, “India pushed for an explicit recognition that the goal of developed countries making available $100 bn per annum through 2025 has not been achieved, and is expected to be met no later than 2023.”

Meanwhile, the G20 leaders said in a 20-page joint communiqué, or the Rome Declaration, that they remained “deeply concerned about the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, especially in developing countries.”

“Underlining the crucial role of multilateralism in finding shared, effective solutions, we have agreed to further strengthen our common response to the pandemic, and pave the way for a global recovery, with particular regard to the needs of the most vulnerable,” the G20 leaders said.

Also read: Jaishankar discusses ‘important regional concerns’ with US’ Blinken on sidelines of G20 Summit

‘India keen to participate in clean technology supply chain’

On Sunday, Prime Minister Modi attended a special event organised by Biden in which the US President discussed how countries can mitigate supply chain disruptions and chalk out the entire ecosystem within partners and allies, said a statement issued by the White House.

“I’m allocating additional funds to help American partners as well as the US cut port congestion by slashing red tape. I’m reducing processing time so that ships can get in and out of our ports faster. I urge all of you to consider boosting the stockpiles critical to national security in your countries. Like so many challenges today, it is not a problem any one of our nations can solve through unilateral actions. Coordination is the key,” Biden said at the meeting.

The US also announced increased funding for two important initiatives to promote international supply chain resilience among US partners and allies.

During the meeting, PM Modi said, “While India is already a trusted source in the IT & pharma supply chains, India is keen to participate in the clean technology supply chain.”

Biden’s event was attended by the European Union and 14 like-minded countries – India, Australia, Canada, Congo, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain and the UK.

Modi’s bilateral meetings

Modi Sunday also met Indonesian President Joko Widodo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. He was accompanied by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in all the bilateral meetings.

Indonesia will hold the G20 Presidency next year. In his meeting with President Widodo, Modi discussed comprehensive strategic partnership and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

With Chancellor Merkel, the Prime Minister spoke about deepening trade and investment relations.

During his discussions with the world leaders, Modi also spoke about facilitating international travel, according to Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

“He talked about the mechanism of mutual recognition of vaccine certification as a means of achieving this,” Shringla said Saturday at a media briefing in Rome.

During his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Modi discussed the Indo-Pacific strategic construct and the trilateral defence partnership between Australia, the US and the UK, or AUKUS.

“As far as the meeting with President Macron is concerned, I do recall that AUKUS came up but very tangentially in the conversation,” Shringla said.

The highlight, however, was Modi’s first-ever meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis in Vatican City.

“Prime Minister extended an invitation to His Holiness Pope Francis to visit India at an early date, which was accepted with pleasure,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.

In June 2000, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited the Vatican and met the then Pope, His Holiness John Paul II. India and The Holy See have friendly relations dating back to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948.

PM Modi reached Glasgow Monday to attend the COP26 Summit in the UK leg of his European tour, where he will attend a bilateral meeting with the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and also give his remarks at the climate change conference.

In an interview to ThePrint, British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis had said apart from climate change, both leaders will also talk about defence cooperation and launching of free trade agreements negotiations between India and the UK.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)

Also read: What is COP26, why it is important & India’s role at the climate change conference


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