PM Modi will not attend G7 summit in person due to prevailing COVID-19 situation: MEA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called off his visit to the UK next month for an in-person visit to Britain to attend the G-7 summit.

“While appreciating the invitation to the Prime Minister by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend the G7 Summit as a special invitee, given the prevailing covid-19 situation, it has been decided that the Prime Minister will not attend the G-7 Summit in person,” a statement from the Indian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.India, Australia and South Korea are among the special invitees for this year’s G-7 Summit hosted by Johnson in Cornwall. There was speculation that a meeting of leaders of the Quad countries – ie US president Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga and Modi would hold their first in-person meet on the sidelines of the G-7 meet in Cornwall. With Modi calling off his visit, that in-person meet has been ruled out. The four leaders had met virtually on 12 March for the first-ever leaders’ summit of Quad countries.

The G-7 meet is the second in-person visit in a row that Modi has declined. He had earlier declined a visit to Porto in Portugal to attend the India-European Union Leaders’ meeting which took place virtually on 8 May.

Modi did visit Dhaka for an in-person visit on 26-27 March for the birth centenary celebrations of Bangladesh’s freedom icon “Bangabandhu” Sheikh Mujibur Rehman.

Last month, however, India was caught in the grip of a vicious second wave of covid-19 infections that has resulted in daily deaths mounting to 3000-4000 and daily infections staying above 350,000. The total number of cases of covid-19 has crossed 23 million with more than 250,000 deaths in total.

Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar had visited London last week for a G-7 foreign ministers’ meet where he had met many of his counterparts including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. But the Indian delegation had to isolate themselves and Jaishankar had to attend the G-7 meeting virtually after two members of his delegation reportedly tested positive for covid-19. Subsequent tests however showed negative results.


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