New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Italy and the UK for two crucial summits, respectively the G20 summit in Rome and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26 in Glasgow. It will leave for Rome on October 28 and will be the city of the 16th G20 Leaders’ Summit which will take place on October 30 and 31.
A number of bilateral dialogues are planned on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the 20 most powerful economies. The main priorities of the Italian presidency will be to deal with the COVID crisis, its economic impact. Notably, the last edition of the summit took place virtually under the Saudi presidency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time the summit was held virtually in more than a decade since its formation.
There will be a few notable absentees who are likely to jump to the top; including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
While the Japanese Prime Minister and President Cyril Ramaphosa will be busy with the elections on these dates, the The Russian president had to skip the summit due to the COVID-19 crisis at home.
The absence of Japanese, Russian and Chinese leaders means that no in-person trilateral – JAI (Japan, America, India) or RIC (Russia, India, China) will take place. It had traditionally become a part of key meetings on the sidelines of G20 meetings.
Climate change will be another key objective of the G20 summit, which precedes the crucial Glasgow climate summit from October 31 to November 12.
PM Modi will leave Rome on October 31 for Glasgow and on November 1 he will address the meeting. He is also expected to meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in person, which both sides have been waiting for.
Keep in mind that the British Prime Minister was supposed to be the main guest of the Indian Republic Day parade this year, but it was canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. Prime Minister Modi was later to visit the G7 leaders as a special guest, which also could not happen due to the pandemic.
Ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK, UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss, who is in India, spoke with her counterpart, Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Friday. During the meeting, Liz said: “We can do so much more in areas such as sharing our environmental expertise ahead of the COP26 summit, we are delighted that the Prime Minister is here”.
His visit coincides with the visit of the British Chief of Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of Naval Staff to British Admiral Tony Radakin (First Sea Lord).
Meanwhile, a British joint exercise Konkan Shakti is also underway from October 21 to 27. The port phase took place in Mumbai from October 21 to 23, the maritime phase from October 24 to 27, the land phase in Chaubatia with tactical air operations involving F35 and MiG 26K.
New Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will also be in Glasgow, and a bilateral deal cannot be ruled out with Indian Prime Minister. Prime Minister Modi will return to the country on November 3. This will be his third overseas visit amid the COVID-19 pandemic and this year. He went to Bangladesh in March and to the United States in September. Before the pandemic hit, his last visit was in November 2019.
This is followed by major ASEAN summits and meetings, including the East Asia summit. The meetings are taking place virtually and India will be present at the meetings. Brunei is hosting ASEAN this year.
The Prime Minister was also invited for the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The Saudi summits are taking place in Riyadh from October 23 to 25, with India’s environment minister representing the country in numerous meetings.