DC Edit | A lot of gains for India and Ukraine at G-7 Italy meet

By :  DC Comment
Update: 2024-06-16 18:40 GMT
Pope Francis greets India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives to a G7 Working Session with Outreach Countries and International Countries during the G7 Summit in Savelletri Di Fasano, Italy on Friday, June 14, 2024.AP/PTI

There is a lot to be said for continuity as Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have gleaned from his meeting with the leaders of the rich G7 nations and the Pope. Familiarity seems to have spurred even more of the bonhomie that India’s leader has built up and sustained with the leaders of the free world as was seen in the happy images rolling out of the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia in Italy where a set of the world’s most influential leaders met and deliberated.

India was only one of the partner countries of the summit — Senegal, South Africa and Argentina were others — and there was a host of invitees from other countries too. This was, however, another conclave at which the Prime Minister could bask in key interactions with leaders signifying how much the world needs the now economically powerful India as a partner and ally.

Whatever may be the compulsions of a reduced mandate in the Lok Sabha polls and its effect on Modi regime 3.0, it is clear India’s image is intact abroad and useful too as in the G7 emphasising on the India-Europe Corridor, formally known as the India-Middle East- Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) when announced on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi last year, and deciding to act on the need to improve strategic ties amid West Asia tensions.

The Prime Minister’s warm meeting with Pope Francis was another positive takeaway from the G7 summit even as Mr Modi’s prominent central place in the G7 “family photo op” and his joy at an affable meeting with the host, Ms Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy, was not to be missed. Given the greater inclusiveness and diversity of his NDA government and his own overtures to the Christian community in Kerala before the polls, the outreach to the head of the Catholic Church and an invitation to visit India portends well though it is the pontiff’s health that might determine if he can make the trip.

The two-day summit was so crammed with meetings and hectic bilateral activity that PM Modi could only get to shake hands with the US President Joe Biden as well as greet the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. There may be pressing issues with the US and Canada on purported extraterritorial killings by India, but they may be taken up at lower official levels rather than in face-to-face meetings among leaders.

The other visiting leader who had substantial takeaways from the summit in Italy was Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy whose forces have lost considerable ground in the east to Russian invasion. The G7 agreed to use frozen Russian assets exceeding $325 billion that are in European banks to raise $50 bn for Ukraine to fight the Russian forces.

Mr Zelensky also signed a 10-year bilateral security deal with the US by which Washington and Kyiv will work to build and maintain Ukraine’s defence and deterrence capability as well as support its economic security. Of course, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin views this move by which the interest on Russia’s frozen assets would help pay the interest on the G7 $50 bn loan to Ukraine as “theft”.


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