• Thursday, July 25, 2024

Diplomacy

Modi reaches Italy For G7 summit, to meet top leaders, including Pope

Italian PM Giorgia Meloni was set to welcome her Indian counterpart as the president of the council of ministers of Italy on June 14.

Indian ambassador to Italy Vani Sarraju Rao (c) and other officials welcome prime minister Narendra Modi following his arrival at Brindisi Airport in Apulia in the southern European nation to attend the Outreach Session of the G7 Summit on June 13, 2024. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (13) arrived in Apulia in southern India to take part in the Outreach Session of the G7 summit and hold bilateral talks with a number of world leaders on various issues on Friday (14).

During his day-long visit, the Indian leader will be participating in a summit session entitled artificial intelligence, energy, Africa-Mediterranean to be hosted by his Italian counterpart Georgia Meloni and joined by Pope Francis.

The Pope is also expected to hold bilateral talks with Modi, who has a series of meetings scheduled with many leaders on the sidelines of the summit being held at the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia.

“I look forward to meeting fellow world leaders and discussing a wide range of issues aimed at making our planet better and improving lives of people,” the Indian PM said in a departure statement on Thursday evening.

Read: Modi, Biden likely to meet on G7 sidelines: Sullivan

He said he was “glad” that his first foreign visit in his third consecutive term as prime minister was to Italy for the G7 summit.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader took oath to the top post for the third consecutive term on June 9. His party, however, could not win a majority on its own in the recently held general elections and was helped by alliance partners to reach the majority mark.

Modi had visited Italy for the G7 summit in 2021 when it was held in Rome.

Read: AI, energy, Africa to be in focus: Modi ahead of G7 visit to Italy

“I warmly recall my visit to Italy for the G20 summit in 2021. Prime Minister Meloni’s two visits to India last year were instrumental in infusing momentum and depth into our bilateral agenda. We remain committed to consolidate the India-Italy strategic partnership, and bolster cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the Mediterranean regions,” his statement reads.

“During the discussions at the Outreach session, the focus would be on artificial intelligence, energy, Africa, and the Mediterranean. It will be an opportunity to bring greater synergy between the outcomes of the G20 Summit held under India’s Presidency and the forthcoming G7 Summit and deliberate on issues which are crucial for the Global South. I am also looking forward to meeting other leaders participating in the summit,” he added.

India hosted the G20 Summit in New Delhi last September, which was also attended by the world leaders gathering at the Apulia meet being held under the Italian presidency.

PM Meloni was set to welcome Modi as the president of the council of ministers of Italy on Friday.

In her opening address on Thursday at the meeting of the G7 leaders – US president Joe Biden, British prime minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, French president Emmanuel Macron, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel – Meloni said southern Italy was chosen as the venue to send a strong message to the Global South.

“It is no coincidence that we are hosting the summit in Apulia. We did this because Apulia is a region of southern Italy and the message we want to launch is that the G7, under the Italian presidency, wishes to strengthen its dialogue with the nations of the Global South,” Meloni said in her opening address.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is set to dominate the agenda as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived for the discussions on Thursday. While India has reiterated its stance on “dialogue and diplomacy” as the best approach, Sunak is leading calls for “decisive” efforts to support Ukraine “whatever it takes”.

“We must be decisive and creative in our efforts to support Ukraine and end [Russian President] Putin’s illegal war at this critical moment,” said Sunak, who announced up to GBP 242 million in bilateral assistance to Ukraine in support of the country’s immediate humanitarian, energy and stabilisation needs, and to lay the foundations for longer-term economic and social recovery and reconstruction. In his pre-visit media briefing, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra had recalled PM Modi’s statement in September 2022 that “today’s era is not of war”.

(With PTI inputs)

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