India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, told the ANI news agency that the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping from this week’s G20 conference in New Delhi is not unusual and has nothing to do with India.
According to Jaishankar in the interview, which aired on Wednesday, the G20 countries’ sherpas are negotiating to get a consensus and a declaration at the summit scheduled for September 9–10 in New Delhi.
“No, no. I do not think it has anything to do with India,” he told ANI, in which Reuters has a minority stake, when asked if Putin and Xi are skipping the summit because they are miffed with India.
“I think whatever decision they make, I mean they would know best. But I would not at all see it the way you would suggest,” he said.
Asked if their absence would affect building a consensus and producing a declaration at the end of the summit, Jaishankar said: “We are negotiating right now…the clock did not start ticking yesterday.”
But expectations from G20 are “very high” and New Delhi faces the challenge of dealing with a “very difficult world” reeling under the impact of the pandemic, conflict, climate change, debt and politics, he said.
G20 groups the 20 major economies of the world and its leaders aim to try and find solutions to some of the world’s pressing problems although a deep geopolitical divide over the war in Ukraine that threatens any progress.
But the absence of Putin and Xi as well as divisions over the war mean it would be difficult to arrive at a consensus Leaders Declaration at the summit, analysts and officials have said. U.S. President Joe Biden will focus on reforming the World Bank and urging other multilateral development banks to boost lending for climate change and infrastructure projects during the summit, the White House said on Tuesday.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said he hopes to discuss digital issues and food security. India has said discussions are underway on a global framework to regulate crypto assets.