India is set to host the G20 summit with grandeur as New Delhi has been extravagantly adorned to welcome foreign delegates for the high-profile event scheduled for 9-10 September at the newly inaugurated Bharat Mandapam, Pragati Maidan. With India holding the G20 presidency, the world’s largest economies, comprising 19 countries and the European Union, are converging in the national capital to discuss critical global issues.
The G20, representing about 90% of the world’s Gross World Product (GWP), 75–80% of international trade, two-thirds of the global population, and roughly half of the world’s land area, will deliberate on matters of economic significance and global cooperation.
Several world leaders have already touched down in New Delhi. UK President Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden arrived in New Delhi on the evening of 8 September. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President of Nigeria, was the first Head of Delegation to arrive.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, are also in attendance.
A host of other world leaders, including Prime Minister of Italy Giorgia Meloni; Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General of OECD; Minister of Economy Raquel Buenrostro Sánchez of Mexico; Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius; and European Council President Charles Michel, have already landed in India.
The G20 summit will also see participation from leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, UAE President HH Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and China’s Premier Li Qiang.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin will be notably absent, as he conveyed his inability to attend due to the “special military operation” in Ukraine. Russia will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Following this, China’s Premier Li Qiang confirmed his participation, although the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not provide a specific reason for President Xi’s non-attendance.
Amidst the diplomatic engagements, a controversy has erupted over invitations to the President’s G20 dinner. Invitations referred to President Droupadi Murmu as the ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the customary ‘President of India’. This move has sparked criticism from opposition parties, who accuse the government of attempting to change the country’s name to Bharat.
In a surprising turn of events, former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda have been invited to the event. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is expected to attend the dinner, potentially marking his first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi since July 2022.
However, several top Opposition leaders, including Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, have not been invited to the G20 dinner hosted by the President. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, expressed his disappointment over not receiving an invitation to the dinner, stating that it reflects a lack of value for the Leader of the Opposition.