Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made his way to Rome in Italy for the G20 Summit.
If you have been following the news, the G20 has been a buzz word and as the world looks towards the leaders meeting for the 16th summit, we take a look at what it’s all about, what is expected to be discussed and what Modi will be doing there.
— G20 Italy (@g20org) October 28, 2021
What is G20?
The G20 is an international grouping made up of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain, and the United States. Spain is a permanent guest invitee.
The G20 was established in 1999 to broaden the scope of the G7 — a grouping of the world’s most powerful nations, and its primary mandate is to “prevent future international financial crises”.
How often does it meet?
The leaders comprising of the G20 countries meet once a year. This year's summit, the first in-person meet of the G20 since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held between 30-31 October in Rome, Italy.
Aims for this year’s meet
The Associated Press reports that while economic recovery is a top agenda item, host Italy hopes the leaders will set a shared, mid-century deadline to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and explore a commitment to reduce methane emissions as well.
The United Nations and climate activists also want the G20 countries to fulfill their longtime pledges of providing $100 billion a year in climate aid to help poor nations cope with the impacts of global warming.
Climate change will be a big talking point at the summit wherein questions such as phasing out coal and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will be discussed and debated.
Moreover, the summit assumes even more significance as it is being held on the eve of the COP26 talks in Glasgow, Scotland.
Leaders are also expected to rubberstamp a deal to impose a 15 percent minimum tax on global corporations and discuss the post-pandemic recovery and associated risks, including the uneven rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
Italian prime minister Mario Draghi was quoted by AFP as saying that the summit “marks the return of multilateralism, after the dark years of isolationism and of isolation linked to the health crisis”.
Post-pandemic recovery, including inflation and rising energy prices along with supply chain issues will also be discussed at the Rome talks.
AFP also reported that no new pledges are expected on COVID-19 vaccines, but Italy wants more help for lower income countries to help distribute existing jabs and build more resilient health systems.
The two-day event will take place under maximum security. As per local reports from Rome, there will be multiple road closures and police snipers will be stationed at strategic rooftops in the area.
Additionally, Rome's airspace will be monitored by the army and there will be maximum security around the Hotel Rome Cavalieri A Waldorf Astoria.
Missing leaders and strained diplomacy
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin of China and Russia respectively are not going to be present at the summit.
Many believe that the climate talks at the G20 won't be substantial or effective if China, the world's number one carbon polluter, won't be at the table.
As per reported information, Putin too will attend the summit in a virtual format.
The absence of Xi and Putin sends a signal that Europe should note in particular, said Massimo Franco, international affairs columnist for Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, according to an Associated Press report.
“If China doesn’t come to Rome, if Russia — which has a lot of energy to sell to Europe — doesn’t join the G-20, I think that this G-20 will be a confirmation of European fragility from the energetic point of view,” Franco was quoted as saying.
The strained ties between US president Joe Biden and French president Emmanuel Macron will also come to the fore after their fallout over the AUKUS deal.
Last month, the announcement by the UK and the US to sell nuclear-power submarines to Australia set off diplomatic tensions. The deal scuttled France's $66 billion deal to sell diesel-powered submarines to Australia, and led the French government to take the unprecedented action of recalling its ambassadors to the US and Australia.
Biden and Macron spoke over the telephone since the tiff, but it remains to be seen how the countries' leaders react when made to sit at the same table.
Modi at G20
As Modi flies out to Rome to attend the summit, he tweeted, “Landed in Rome to take part in the @g20org Summit, an important forum to deliberate on key global issues. I also look forward to other programmes through this visit to Rome.”
Landed in Rome to take part in the @g20org Summit, an important forum to deliberate on key global issues. I also look forward to other programmes through this visit to Rome. pic.twitter.com/e4UuIIfl7f
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2021
It has been reported that the prime minister will focus on global economic and health recovery from the pandemic, sustainable development, and climate change.
In his departure statement, he had said: “This will be the first in-person Summit of the G20 since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 and will allow us to take stock of the current global situation and exchange ideas on how the G20 can be an engine for strengthening economic resilience and building back inclusively and sustainably from the pandemic."
The situation in Afghanistan is expected to figure prominently at the summit, according to sources.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that counter-terrorism and terror financing would also be discussed during the G20 meeting.
Modi is also expected to meet with leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Briefing media about the visit, Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla said among bilateral meetings the PM will meet Saudi Crown Prince (last G20 President) and the Indonesian President (Indonesia is incoming G20 presidency). The meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince is significant amid growing political and economic partnership.
The prime minister will also visit Vatican City, to meet Pope Francis and Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
With inputs from agencies