Indian PM Modi hosts G20 leaders in video meet, but Xi and Biden to skip

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host a virtual meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 on Wednesday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said, though Chinese President Xi Jinping won’t be attending.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that Premier Li Qiang will attend the G20 video summit instead.

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The gathering is set for a day after Modi skipped a virtual meeting of leaders from rising economies attended by Xi, where the group discussed the Israel-Hamas conflict. That meeting was attended by Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar instead, Indian media reported.

Today’s meeting comes as Modi winds down India’s presidency of the G-20 group of the world’s largest economies. The Indian leader used the one-year term, which ends this month, to showcase the South Asian country’s rising global clout ahead of a national election set for early next year in which Modi will seek a third term as prime minister.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said at a briefing on Tues-day that a “large majority of G20 leaders” would attend Wednesday’s video meeting. US President Joe Biden is skipping the summit, while the Kremlin has confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin will address the gathering of world leaders.

India hopes to review the progress made in the year since it’s held the presidency, when it pushed for emerging economies’ development as the central agenda.

India secured a joint statement at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in September, amid divisions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, the Israel-Hamas war has added to the discord between the developed world and countries in the Global South.

Read more: World leaders at BRICS summit accuse Israel of war crimes, call for ceasefire in Gaza

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