• Friday, September 22, 2023


Xi Jinping unlikely to attend G20 summit in India; premier Li may represent Beijing

Some analysts felt Xi’s absence at the key summit could be a signal that Beijing is not ready to see New Delhi emerge as a player of influence.

(L-R) Chinese president Xi Jinping (Photo by MIKHAIL TERESHCHENKO/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images) and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

CHINESE president Xi Jinping is unlikely to attend the upcoming G20 summit in New Delhi, India, next weekend, Reuters reported citing informed sources in both the Asian neighbours.

Absence of the Chinese leader at the key summit would shatter chances of a meeting between him and US president Joe Biden who will visit India for the occasion.

The Reuters report also cited some analysts saying the absence of Xi at the G20 summit could also be a signal that Beijing is not ready to see New Delhi emerge as a player of influence, particularly when the southern neighbour is growing fast as an economy and China itself is slowing.

A couple of Indian officials besides a China-based diplomat and another official working for the government of another G20 member state said Chinese premier Li Qiang is likely to represent China at the meeting scheduled for September 9 and 10.

Spokespersons from neither the Indian nor Chinese foreign ministries respond to requests for remarks on the matter, Reuters added.

The G20 summit was being seen as an occasion for a possible meeting between Xi and Biden, leaders of two world’s top two economies that have a strained relation at the moment over trade and geopolitical tensions.

The two leaders last attended on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2022.

Russian president Vladimir Putin will also be absent at the summit in New Delhi and his country will be represented by foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who also represented Moscow at the BRICS summit held last week.

Farwa Aamer, director of South Asia Initiatives at the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York, told Reuters that Xi avoiding the summit in New Delhi could be read as Beijing being “reluctant to cede the centre stage” to India.

“China doesn’t want India to be the voice of the Global South, or to be that country within the Himalayan region to be hosting this very successful G20 summit,” she was quoted as saying.

Xi’s absence will mean Indian prime minister Narendra Modi will also not have any bilateral meeting with the Chinese president. Speculation was rife over the duo’s meeting at the BRICS summit in South Africa but they had a very brief talk where the Indian PM reportedly raised concerns New Delhi has about the border dispute between the two countries in the Himalayan region.

Recently, the two nuclear-armed neighbours also issued statements after China released a ‘standard map’ showing India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin region, which it had occupied in the 1962 war, as its parts.

Related Stories