Government takes G20 diplomats to Andaman for preview briefing

Government takes G20 diplomats to Andaman for preview briefing

Officials briefed on ‘logistical preparations’ a week ahead of India assuming the presidency of the grouping; they were informed on the country’s policy priorities during the G-20 process, and issues it hopes to highlight

More than 40 diplomats and officials from the UN and other multilateral organisations were briefed on “logistical preparations” for the G20 process during a curtain-raiser organised by the government at a resort in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Saturday. The event comes a week before India formally assumes the presidency of the G20 grouping of the world’s largest economies, and will lead up to a summit in 2023, which will see leaders of the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and other members, travel to Delhi.

Sources said that one of the key events, the Foreign Minister’s Meeting (FMM), would be held in March 2023, while the summit would be held in Delhi in September 2023.

During an “interactive briefing” by India’s G20 Sherpa, Amitabh Kant, G20 National Coordinator Harsh Shringla and other officials, the government’s G20 Secretariat gave the invitees details of upcoming meetings and arrangements being made, as well as India’s policy priorities during the G20 process, and issues it hopes to highlight.

“Made a presentation to all Ambassadors & Head of Missions on G20, India’s growth & development story and how we plan to make our Presidency ambitious, action oriented and decisive,” Mr. Kant said in a series of tweets, where he posted photos of the group in the Andamans.

“Apt to hold this event in the beautiful & historic Swaraj Dweep, as India is on the cusp of taking over G20 Presidency from our neighbour across the Andaman Sea,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on social media, referring to Indonesia, the G20 host for 2022. India’s presidency will mark the first time that the “Troika” or hosts of three consecutive years: Indonesia, India and Brazil, all belong to emerging countries.

In particular, India will focus on managing divisions over the war in Ukraine that held up much of the G20 process in 2022, and led to threats of a boycott by the U.S. and European leaders, and eventually the Russian President decided to skip the summit. One of the reasons for taking all the Ambassadors to this pre-G20 event in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands was to emphasise the need for them to ensure all leaders attend the summit in India. The visit also highlights the government’s decision to hold many of the G20’s 200-odd events in different parts of India, across 50 locations, rather than holding them in one venue.

The Ambassadors and other diplomats, who flew in a specially chartered flight from Delhi, travelled to Swaraj Deep (Havelock) island on Friday, after a tour of Port Blair’s Cellular Jail, which housed freedom fighters during the British Raj. On Saturday, they participated in yoga class and a beach-cleaning exercise.

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