Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden were seen sharing a laugh at the G20 summit in India. The summit, with the theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, brings together world leaders to discuss pressing issues such as Ukraine, climate change, and global inflation. While Russia is a member of the G20, its premier Vladimir Putin did not attend the summit. Instead, he sent foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, a move that may not sit well with those seeking a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.
Mr Sunak and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi held talks the day before the summit. They were seen embracing and exchanging words in a meeting where the press was not freely open. The two leaders were expected to discuss negotiations for a potential UK-India post-Brexit free trade deal.
The issue of Ukraine has split nations at the G20 summit, with India avoiding blaming Moscow for the invasion and calling for dialogue and diplomacy. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who attended last year’s summit, was not invited this time. Russia’s actions in Ukraine have been criticized, particularly its withdrawal from a UN and Turkey-mediated deal concerning the safe passage of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
Ahead of the G20 summit, Mr Sunak criticized Putin for not attending and announced plans to support Ukrainian exports to vulnerable countries that rely on them for food. He also expressed that the rest of the G20 is ready to work together to address the global consequences of Putin’s actions in Ukraine.
Security measures were put in place in Delhi, where the summit was held, leading to closures of businesses, shops, offices, and schools. Slums were demolished and animals were removed from the streets to ensure a smooth running of the meeting.
Meanwhile, Mr Sunak expressed his determination to fight in the next general election in the UK. Although the Conservatives have faced recent scandals and trailed behind Labour in polls, Mr Sunak stated that there is plenty of time to prepare and deliver for the people. His parents and in-laws were on holiday in India at the time but not attending the G20 summit.
Indian PM Modi addressed the summit as the leader of ‘Bharat’, an ancient Sanskrit name for India. This has been interpreted as a signal that the country could distance itself from its British colonial history. The African Union was also granted permanent member status in the G20 during the summit.