Leaders of the world’s richest and most powerful countries will attend a two-day G20 summit in India’s capital New Delhi – the first time the South Asian country is hosting such a powerful group of world leaders.
The capital has been adorned with ornamental flowers and fountains at traffic roundabouts while public buildings and pavements have been given a fresh coat of paint.
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Here is what to know about the bloc, the countries attending this week’s summit, and the issues likely to dominate it:
What’s G20 and how was it created?
The world’s 20 major countries formed an economic group in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis with the understanding that such crises could no longer be contained within a nation’s borders and required better international economic cooperation.
The bloc currently accounts for 80 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), 75 percent of international trade and about two-thirds of the world population.
Although only treasury chiefs met in the initial years, heads of all member nations decided to meet once a year for a leaders’ summit after the 2008 global financial crisis.
There is no G20 headquarters and the presidency is rotated among its members. The 2022 summit took place in Indonesia and India will hand over the presidency to Brazil on December 1.
Who forms the G20?
The G20 includes the world’s 19 wealthiest countries plus the European Union as a bloc.
These countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Has any other country been invited this year?
According to the official website, the other countries that have been invited for the summit this year are Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
Organisations such as the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have also been invited.
India has also invited the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the two-day summit.
When and where is the G20 summit taking place this year?
This year, the G20 summit will be held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10 at the newly constructed Bharat Mandapam, a sprawling exhibition centre in the heart of the city, near the historic India Gate monument.
What is this year’s theme?
India’s G20 theme is derived from the Sanskrit phrase, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (or the world is a family). According to the organisers, the theme is drawn from an ancient Sanskrit text.
The phrase highlights the “value of all life human, animal, plant, and microorganisms – and their interconnectedness on the planet Earth and in the wider universe”.
The theme in English says: “One Earth, One Family, One Future”. The event will also focus on LiFE (Mission Lifestyle for Environment), “with its associated, environmentally sustainable and responsible choices”, say the organisers.
Who is attending – and who is not?
The world leaders who have confirmed attendance are US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart and ally Xi Jinping have decided to skip it.
This will be the first time a Chinese president will miss the G20 summit since the first edition was held in 2008. In 2020 and 2021 during the COVID pandemic, Xi had attended virtually.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is also expected to attend the New Delhi summit in what will be his first official trip to India as the premier.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is likely to lead criticism of Russia for the Ukraine war since the former nation currently heads the G7.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s trip to India will be part of his three-nation tour which also includes Indonesia and the Philippines.
French President Emmanuel Macron is likely to attend and also hold bilateral talks with Modi, according to Indian media reports.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are also likely to attend.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol told the Associated Press he will urge the international community to firmly respond to North Korea’s “ever-escalating missile provocations and nuclear threats and to work closely together on its denuclearisation” at the summit.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said the G20 summit is important despite the absence of Russia and China. Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also scheduled to visit India and focus his discussions on climate change.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez and Nigerian leader Bola Tinubu are also expected to attend, while Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador may not attend, according to Indian media reports.
What are the key issues this year?
Under India’s year-long presidency, the bloc centred discussions on more loans to developing nations from multilateral institutions, reforming international debt architecture, regulations on cryptocurrency and the effects of geopolitical uncertainties on food and energy security.
So far this year, the bloc has failed to issue any joint statements as it is deeply divided over language referring to the war in Ukraine.
While Russia and China are against blaming Moscow for the war, Western countries, including the United States, France and Canada, have sought a strong condemnation as a necessary condition for a joint statement.
How is India preparing for the summit?
New Delhi’s crowded streets have been resurfaced. Streetlights are illuminating once-dark pavements. City buildings and walls are painted with bright murals. Planted flowers are everywhere.
According to reports, hundreds of houses and roadside stalls have been demolished since January, displacing thousands of people. Dozens of shantytowns were razed to the ground, with many residents getting eviction notices only a short while before the demolitions got under way.
Authorities say the demolitions were carried out against “illegal encroachers,” but right activists and those evicted question the policy and say that it has pushed thousands more into homelessness.
According to local reports, Indian Railways has decided to cancel and divert at least 200 passenger train services temporarily from September 8 to 11. The New Delhi airport has received requests to cancel 80 departing and as many arriving domestic flights during the summit, Indian media reports said.