While Russian President Vladimir Putin will make an appearance at the G20 for the first time in at least two years, US President Joe Biden will not be present due to Thanksgiving and will be represented by treasury secretary Janet Yellen.
This will also be the first time when Canadian PM Justin Trudeau will come face to face, although virtually, with PM Modi after the bitter diplomatic standoff between the two countries days after his return from India to Ottawa in September. China will be represented by Premier Li Qiang as President Xi Jinping will once again be missing.
While India will push for the development agenda to be at the centre stage, officials did not rule out the possibility of the Israel-Hamas war being a key talking point.
“Since our successful hosting of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, the world has witnessed a succession of events and several new challenges have emerged. While development will be the core agenda and we will focus on the development issue, the leaders may discuss other issues,” India’s sherpa Amitabh Kant told reporters.
Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said it wouldn’t be proper to prejudge issues to be discussed by the leaders, as Indian officials listed out the progress on several issues that have been made since the summit in September.
“The PM will be hosting leaders of the G20 within a span of just over two months. This is something very rare and rather exceptional. No other presidency has had a physical meeting of all the leaders and then a virtual meeting. In addition to all this, the PM has hosted two sessions of the Voice of Global South. 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 and the leadership of the prime minister at the global level,” Kant said.
India secured a rare consensus at the G20 summit in September against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war — an issue which had threatened to create a divide between the developed and emerging economies.
New Delhi is now working on implementation of the issues agreed by leaders in the summit. There has been substantial progress on several issues, including climate financing, reform of multilateral development banks and work on creation of a framework for ethical artificial intelligence based on the Unesco’s principles.