International

G7 2024: Modi Meets Meloni, Biden, Brings Focus On AI; Nation Leaders' Support To Kyiv, Fuss Over 'Abortion' | Key Details

The G7 leaders also focused on financial backing for Ukraine, the war in Gaza, climate change, the situation in Red Sea, Iran and gender equality.

AP
Global leaders at G7 Summit 2024. Photo: AP
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The second and final day of the G7 Summit 2024 in Italy saw the group leaders turning their attention to migration, artificial intelligence, economic security and the Indo-Pacific region.

The leaders, gathered in Italy's southern Puglia's luxury resort, also focused on other significant issues, such as financial backing for Ukraine, the war in Gaza, climate change, the situation in Red Sea, Iran, gender equality as well as China's economic security and industrial policy.

Notably, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- on a day long visit -- attended the G7 summit and held bilateral talks with Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni, British PM Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and others.

G7 SUMMIT 2024 | KEY DETAILS

PM MODI AT G7 ITALIA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday left for India after concluding his day-long visit to Italy, where he attended the G7 summit and held bilateral talks with several global leaders.

In his address at an Outreach session of the summit, PM Modi called for the ending of technological monopoly, saying that it must be made creative to lay the foundation of an inclusive society. Modi's speech had an particular emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI).

He said that India will work with all countries to make AI transparent, fair, secure, accessible and responsible.

He addressed the challenges being faced by the Global South, he said a high priority has been given to Africa in these efforts.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the recently concluded 2024 Lok Sabha elections and said, "The blessing that the people of India have given in the form of this historic victory is a victory of democracy," adding that it is a victory for the entire democratic world.

Modi's remarks and initiatives were praised by French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden in their speeches.

MODI MEETS MELONI, BIDEN, ZELENSKYY

PM Modi held bilateral talks with his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni on the sidelines of the G7 Summit on Friday and discussed defence and security cooperation between the two countries.

A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said, "The two sides discussed bilateral defence and security cooperation and hoped for further enhancing the defence industrial collaboration."

They also took note of their satisfaction with the regular higher political dialogue and reviewed India-Italy Strategic Partnership's progress.

They also signed a Letter of Intent for cooperation in Energy Transition, which will boost bilateral cooperation in clean and green energy.

Other than Meloni, Modi also held a brief conversation with Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and talks with US President Joe Biden.

The Indian PM's conversation with Trudeau comes in the background of strained ties between the two countries over the case relating to Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar's killing.

Meanwhile, meeting Biden, Modi said, "It's always a pleasure to meet @POTUS @JoeBiden. India and USA will keep working together to further global good."

Meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, PM Modi assured him that India will continue to do everything within its limit to support a peaceful solution to the Ukraine conflict, adding that the way to peace is through "dialogue and diplomacy".

Modi told Zelenskyy that India believes in a "human-centric" approach to find a solution to the conflict in Ukraine.

He noted that meeting with the Ukranian President was "very productive" and said that India is eager to further strengthen bilateral ties with Ukraine.

Modi also met with Pope Francis and extended an invitation to him to visit India, saying that he admired the latter's commitment to serving the people.

In his 'excellent' meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Modi discussed ways to further strengthen the strategic partnership in areas like defence, nuclear and space.

The two leaders reviewed their bilateral ties, with focus on the 'Horizon 2047' Roadmap and the Indo-Pacific Roadmap. Their discussions also included cooperation in digital public infrastructure, connectivity and cultural activities, while also focusing on 'Make in India'.

MELONI, BIDEN DIDN'T DISCUSS 'ABORTION'

The raging and notable matter of abortion was off the tables during that talks between US President Joe Biden and Italian PM Giorgia Meloni.

Meloni's right-wing government worked towards watering down the references to abortion in the final statement made by the G7 leaders, sparking disagreement between nations over language in the final draft about their shared commitments.

The draft reportedly omits the word "abortion" but does reference the need to promote "reproductive health and rights".

The White House' statement over the two leaders' meeting made no reference to the issue and instead emphasised their common efforts to “deepen the US-Italy partnership across a range of vital security, economic, and regional issues”.

'WORKING TOGETHER TO ADDRESS PRESSING CHALLENGES'

The G7 leaders, in their final communique, said, "We are working together and with others to address the pressing challenges of our time," pointing at their solidarity with Ukraine, support for a ceasefire deal in Gaza and investing in Africa for sustainable infrastructure.

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The leaders mulled over different ways of combating trafficking and increase investment in countries where migrants often start out on life-threatening journeys.

British PM Rishi Sunak said that he and Meloni saw "eye to eye" on the topic of migration, adding that "We can't have criminal gangs decide who comes to our countries".

Other than the G7 nations of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US, the Italian hosts also invited several African leaders — Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Kenyan President William Ruto and Tunisian President Kais Saied — to press Meloni's migration and development initiatives.

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Notably, the ONE Campaign, which backs investment in Africa, said it had found that the G7 and EU institutions' share of aid going to Africa was at its lowest since 1973.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis became the first pontiff to address a G7 Summit, delivering a speech on AI.

G7 SUMMIT, DAY ONE: RECAP

Day 1 of the summit was kicked off with a focus on the Ukraine war and the G7 Countries approving an aid package worth $50 billion for the war-torn country.

Biden also signed a bilateral security agreement with Zelenskyy, aiming to send a signal to Russia of American resolve in backing Kyiv.

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Meanwhile, disagreements brought some cracks to the summit, with French president Macron deploring the lack of reference to abortion in G7's final draft.

“It was not possible to reach agreement on these things in the room,” a senior EU official said. Macron said he regretted the omission of abortion from the final test.

France “has included women's right to abortion, the freedom of decision on one's own body, into its Constitution,” he said, adding that France defends “this vision of equality between women and men.”

(With AP inputs)

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