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Roving Periscope: Ahead of the G-7 Summit, British PM Sunak supports Ukraine

Roving Periscope: Ahead of the G-7 Summit, British PM Sunak supports Ukraine

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: Ukraine is expected to dominate the three-day Group of Seven (G-7) Summit, which began in Italy on Thursday, as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak led the calls for “decisive efforts” to support the war-ravaged nation fighting against Russia.

“We must be decisive and creative in our efforts to support Ukraine and end (Russian President) Putin’s illegal war at this critical moment,” he said in a statement ahead of the Summit talks.

The Gaza War, however, does not appear to be as high a priority at the G-7 Summit as Ukraine is.

Leaders of the G-7 nations on Thursday began their deliberations on global affairs in the southern Italian region of Apulia, where India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited for the Outreach Session to be held on Friday.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is set to dominate the agenda as leaders of the G-7—the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, and Japan—are hosted by Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni at the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia on the Adriatic coast, the media reported.

While India has reiterated its stance on dialogue and diplomacy as the best approach, Sunak said “the UK remains at the forefront of the international response as we have been from the outset. We must move from as long as it takes to whatever it takes if we are to end this illegal war.”

From Ukraine to the Middle East, we will be discussing significant global threats at the Summit. Such threats are why it is so vital to strengthen the UK’s national defense, through our commitment to spend 2.5 percent of GDP on defense by 2030, he added.

PM Sunak is expected to announce up to GBP 242 million in bilateral assistance to Ukraine, to support immediate humanitarian, energy, and stabilization needs, and lay the foundations for longer-term economic and social recovery and reconstruction.

A priority for the British PM at the Summit will be to work with partners to agree on a way to use immobilized Russian assets to support Ukraine, a Downing Street statement said.

Meanwhile, in his pre-visit media briefing in New Delhi on Wednesday, India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra recalled PM Modi’s statement in September 2022 that today’s era is not of war.

We have always maintained that dialogue and diplomacy is the best option, he said, pointing to the consequences of the war such as an impact on food, fuel, and fertilizer availability, challenges to global supply chains, and disruptions in the global economy.

India has been at the forefront of talking about not just the conflict, the need for dialogue and diplomacy but also the way the war is impacting the priorities and interests of the developing countries, he said.

Besides, India has offered assistance, wherever it could, to alleviate challenges faced by the Global South because of the conflict, humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, and also to the Global South affected by conflict, he added.

India will continue to share its perspective with world leaders on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit, where PM Modi will participate in the Outreach Session along with the other countries. This session will be focused on issues relating to Artificial Intelligence (AI), energy, Africa, and the Mediterranean.

Italy, which holds the presidency, has invited leaders from 11 other developing countries in Africa, South America, and the Indo-Pacific region to attend the Summit in line with the tradition.

For PM Modi, who attended the previous G-7 Summit in Hiroshima (Japan) in May 2023, the fresh visit marks his first foreign tour after being re-elected for a third consecutive term last week.

He is expected to hold several bilateral meetings on the sidelines, including with US President Joe Biden.

The G-7 leaders were welcomed by Italian PM Meloni, as the President of the Council of Ministers, who is keen to showcase the Apulia region’s many highlights.

Pope Francis will attend the Summit on Friday, becoming the first pontiff to take part in a G-7, and will talk about the need for ethical AI, and efforts to bring about peace, Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.


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