Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not travel to the UK to attend the G-7 summit in June due to the prevailing pandemic crisis, the government said on Tuesday. The pandemic has ravaged the country in its second wave with cases spiralling on a daily basis and a large number of deaths being reported from across the states.
Modi was scheduled to be a special invitee to the summit of the Group of Seven (G7) nations to be held in Cornwall between June 11 and 13 at UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s invitation. A spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said that while India appreciated the invitation received from Johnson, Modi would not attend the summit in person due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“While appreciating the invitation to the Prime Minister by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend the G7 Summit as a Special Invitee, given the prevailing COVID situation, it has been decided that the Prime Minister will not attend the G-7 Summit in person," said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. As the chair of G7, the UK has invited India, Australia, South Korea, South Africa to the summit. The G7 comprises the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States and the leaders are expected to discuss shared challenges including the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global economies.
This is the second cancellation of Modi’s visit abroad in recent weeks. On April 20, the MEA announced cancellation of a planned visit by Modi to Portugal to attend the India-European Union summit on May 8. The summit was held in a virtual format. Johnson too had called off his scheduled visit to India last month in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Subsequently, Modi and Johnson held a virtual summit on May 4. The Prime Minister had paid a two-day visit to Bangladesh in March to attend events marking 50 years of that country’s war of liberation.
Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar travelled to London to participate in the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting. However, he could not attend the meeting in person after some members of his delegation tested positive for COVID-19. The external affairs minister attended the meeting in virtual format.
In January, a UK statement had said, “As ‘pharmacy of the world’, India already supplies more than 50% of the world’s vaccines, and the UK and India have worked closely together throughout the pandemic. Our prime ministers speak regularly and Prime Minister Johnson has said he will visit India ahead of the G-7."
(With PTI inputs)