Modi to attend G-7 summit in Germany, meet Indonesian President, other leaders

Modi to attend G-7 summit in Germany, meet Indonesian President, other leaders

India, Indonesia and other countries find middle path in common as G-7 plans its next move against Russia

As the world’s most developed economies meet for the G-7 summit this weekend to discuss their next move against Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also fly to the German Alpine resort of Schloss Elmau as a special invitee to the meeting on June 26-27, the Ministry of External Affaris (MEA) announced on Wednesday.

New Delhi is preparing for more pressure from the G-7 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., the U.S. and the EU, who have unitedly imposed sanctions on Russia since the invasion of Ukraine. They want India to cooperate in restricting its purchase of Russian oil, not circumvent the sanctions by using a Rupee-Rouble mechanism, and lifting the ban on the export of wheat, all requests that the Modi government has turned down.

“Prime Minister is expected to speak in two sessions that include Environment, Energy, Climate, Food Security, Health, Gender Equality and Democracy,” the MEA said, announcing that the PM would also hold a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit.

The visit from June 26-28 will include a stopover on the return journey in Abu Dhabi, where Mr. Modi will pay a condolence visit following the death of U.A.E.’s late President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and meet with the new ruler and President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Among the other special invitees to the G-7 summit are the leaders of Argentina, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa, and ahead of an expected meeting between Mr. Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on June 27, officials are working on finding common ground on keeping an independent position in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and keeping the focus on the economic impact of the war and Western sanctions.

PM Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will also attend a virtual summit of BRICS countries hosted by Chinese President Xi, where they will discuss the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, on June 23-24, just before the G-7 summit.

In an interview to business channel CNBC, Mr. Widodo called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, and for talks to alleviate problems for developing countries that are most vulnerable to the “key problems” of “food prices, energy prices and inflation”, a stand similar to India’s.

President Jokowi is expected to fly from Germany, to Kyiv to meet President Zelensky, and Moscow to meet President Putin, in an attempt to play a mediatory role ahead of the G-20 summit due to be held in Bali in November this year.

India, which will take over the G-20 Presidency from Indonesia in December, is also keenly interested in the future of G-20 preparations, given that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries led by U.S. President Joe Biden are pushing for Russia to be ousted from the G-20 grouping, like the G-7, formerly the G-8, expelled Russia from that group in 2014. Neither India nor Indonesia support the move, and refused to join a boycott in April when a number of G-20 countries walked out of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting that the Russian Finance Minister attended

During the G-7 meeting, Mr. Biden is expected to raise the importance of tighter sanctions on Russia At a briefing, the White House said that the U.S. values its ties with India, but wants to press home its demand on cutting Russian oil purchases in order to cripple its economy.

“These are sovereign decisions. But we want as much pressure put internationally on Russia as possible…There needs to be costs and consequences for what Mr. Putin is doing,” senior National Security Council official John Kirby said, in response to a specific question on India’s jump in oil sales from Russia. India’s purchases grew “25-fold” since the start of the war, and Indian oil public sector undertakings (PSU) have been buying an average of one million barrels a day in June, compared with 30,000 barrels in February, The Wall Street Journal reported, quoting figures by research firm Kpler.

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