By: Shubham Ghosh
US nominee for World Bank president Ajay Banga has tested positive for Covid-19 following which the meetings scheduled during his two-day visit to India starting Thursday (24) have been cancelled.
According to a statement from India’s finance ministry, Banga’s meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman would not happen as he is in quarantine.
“During routine testing, Ajay Banga tested positive for Covid-19 but remains asymptomatic. In adherence with local guidelines, he is quarantining in isolation,” the US treasury department said on Thursday.
Besides meeting with Sitharaman, Banga, the former chief executive of Mastercard, was scheduled to meet prime minister Narendra Modi, external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and top officials during his visit.
The Indian-born Banga’s New Delhi visit is the final stop on his three-week global tour that kicked off in Africa before progressing to Europe, Latin America, and Asia to drum up support for his candidature for the World Bank’s top position.
India is witnessing a spike in influenza and coronavirus cases in the past two weeks.
According to the US treasury department’s statement, Banga, 63, was to discuss India’s development priorities, the World Bank, and global economic development challenges with the Indian leaders.
India endorsed his candidacy soon after his nomination was announced last month.
Since then, a diverse coalition of governments has expressed their support for Banga, including Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Korea, and the UK.
During his global listening tour, Banga met with senior government officials, stakeholders, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and civil society.
(With PTI inputs)