Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a telephonic conversation with the US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, accepted his offer to be part of the ‘expanded G7’, the group of most powerful nations to discuss the collective approach to China.
Earlier this week, Trump decided to postpone the G7 meeting till September and invite India, Russia, Australia and South Korea to discuss a plan on how to deal with the future of China. The US and China have been in an open confrontation since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which originated in Wuhan.
The phone conversation is significant in view of the ongoing face-off between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. Though Trump had offered to mediate between the two Asian giants to resolve the violent stand-off, neither India nor China used the services of his office.
Both India and China are talking using diplomatic channels to resolve the issue. Last week, however, Trump had claimed that Modi was not pleased with the Xi Jinping regime over the ongoing border conflict.
On Tuesday, an official statement of the Ministry of External Affairs said that Modi had a telephone conversation with Trump.
During the phone call, Trump spoke about the US Presidency of the Group of Seven, and “conveyed his desire to expand the ambit of the grouping beyond the existing membership, to include other important countries including India”.
In this context, the statement said, “He extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to attend the next G-7 Summit to be held in the US.”
The government, however, did not elaborate on the mechanics of the ‘expanded G7’ and in what capacity will India participate in the group.
Modi, as per the statement, commended Trump for his “creative and far-sighted approach, acknowledging the fact that such an expanded forum would be in keeping with the emerging realities of the post-Covid world.”
India would be happy to work with the US and other countries to ensure the success of the proposed summit, the Modi told Trump.
Modi also expressed his concerns regarding the ongoing civil disturbances in the US, and conveyed his best wishes for an early resolution of the situation, the statement said.
The two leaders also exchanged views on other topical issues, such as the Covid-19 situation in the two countries, the situation on the India-China border, and the need for reforms in the World Health Organization.
During the conversation, Trump warmly recalled his visit to India in February this year. Modi reciprocated by saying that the visit had indeed been memorable and historic on many accounts, and had also added new dynamism to the bilateral relationships.
The exceptional warmth and candour of the conversation reflected the special nature of the Indo-US ties, as well as the friendship and mutual esteem between both the leaders, the statement said.
UK, Canada oppose Russia’s return to G7-The UK and Canada have opposed Russia’s return to the G7, deepening a rift over US President Donald Trump’s wish for Moscow to rejoin the group of the world’s wealthiest nations.
On May 30, Trump announced that he was postponing the G7 leaders’ summit, adding that it was “outdated” and that he would like to see more countries, including India, Russia, Australia and South Korea added to the group.
According to the Kremlin, Trump in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin told the latter of his plan to invite him to the summit.
The White House confirmed the development, saying that making “progress toward convening the G7” with Russia was among the topics the leaders discussed in the phone call.
Russia was expelled from the group – previously known as the G8 – in 2014 in response to its annexation of Crimea, the BBC reported
But Trump’s invitation to Putin has drawn the ire of the UK and Canada, whose leaders have said that they would not support Russia’s re-admission to the group.
“Russia was excluded from the G7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago, and its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7, and it will continue to remain out,” Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference.
Also a spokesman for the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would veto any proposal to allow Russia to rejoin the group.
Unless Russia ceases its “aggressive and destabilising activity”, the UK would not support the country’s readmission to the group, the BBC quoted Johnson’s spokesman as saying on Monday.
“Russia was removed from the G7 group of nations following its (2014) annexation of Crimea and we are yet to see evidence of changed behaviour which would justify its readmittance,” the spokesman told reporters.
Meanwhile, the leaders of South Korea and Australia have expressed interest in attending the summit in the US.
Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected Trump’s invitation to attend a summit in person because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The G7 leaders’ meeting, which the US is to host this year as it occupies the rotating presidency of the group, was scheduled from June 10 to 12.
Trump announced in April the cancellation of the in-person summit due to the rapid expansion and severity of the coronavirus pandemic and said it would take place virtually.
As an alternative date, Trump on May 30 said that the summit could be held over the weekend just before or after the UN General Assembly, which is scheduled to start on September 15, or after the US presidential election in November.
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