International

Modi Is On His Way To Italy For The G7 Outreach Summit

Modi’s reduced mandate will enhance India’s democratic credentials in the eyes of the world

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Representational Images Photo: Getty Images
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Italy for the G-7 outreach meeting, his first since coming back to power for a third consecutive term. The PM is leaving on Thursday accompanied by foreign minister Subramanyam Jaishankar, national security adviser Ajit Doval and foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra, as well as other senior officials.

Modi’s electoral victory though with a reduced margin works well for India’s image. The country has been slipping on democratic indices through Modi’s successive terms as prime minister, but now with the balance somewhat restored, India can continue thumping its chest on being the world’s most populous democracy. With world leaders like US President Joe Biden facing a tough election in November, Britain’s Rishi Sunak whose Conservative party is widely expected to lose this summer’s election, and France’s Emmanuel Macron, who had called for snap elections after his party’s miserable performance in the EU parliamentary polls, Modi’s renewed mandate will add to his stature in the global stage.

India is not a member of the G7, an exclusive club of the world’s richest countries. Member countries are US, Canada, France, UK, Germany, Italy and Japan. New Delhi has been invited to the out-reach summit for the last eleven years. For PM Modi it will be his fifth consecutive presence at the G-7.

The importance of the outreach sessions for India is to be part of the global dialogue on important issues of our times like artificial intelligence... its positive and negative effects on society. Pope Francis will address the ethical questions raised by AI technology. Prime Minister is expected to speak on India’s position on AI. Climate change and energy security, the debate between developed and developing nations with emphasis on Africa, as well as the on- going wars as in Ukraine and the Israel actions in Gaza will all be in focus.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been invited to the G7 to remind Putin that world leaders are solidly backing Russia and will continue to do so with both arms and money. The group is expected announce a $ 50 billion loan to Ukraine, much of which will be taken from profits earned by Russia’s frozen bank accounts in Western banks.

Though the US and its Western allies know well that they cannot persuade India to stop buying Russian oil or condemning Moscow’s war on Ukraine, they will nevertheless hope to gradually pull New Delhi away from Russia. The threat posed by China will also be part of the agenda.

A halt to Israel’s war in Gaza and the humanitarian crisis there is part of the G7 agenda. There is unanimity among G7 nations for the Biden peace proposal and every effort will be made to get the plan off the ground. For Biden a peace deal will help his electoral chances and bring back young voters to the Democratic fold. The young as well as African American’s played an important role in his last elections. Despite India’s growing closeness to Israel, New Delhi has always adhered to a two-state solution for lasting peace. The problem with the new peace proposal is that it has no reference to the two-state solution.

Prime Minister Modi will also have several bilateral meetings with leaders of other countries; however, they have not yet been confirmed. The meeting with Italian PM Giorgi Meloni, with whom the Indian leader has a good personal equation is slated. The PM is also expected to have a brief exchange with several others like President Biden, Rishi Sunak and others. But the spotlight for Indians will be on Canada’s Justin Trudeau, and whether he and Prime Minister Modi take the opportunity to smooth out their differences. India-Canada relations are on the downslide ever since Trudeau announced in the Canadian parliament that India was involved in the shooting of Canadian citizen and pro-Khalistan activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar last June. That opened a can of worms with the US also joining in with similar charges against official India. The cold vibes between Modi and Trudeau were apparent in the G20 meeting last year. Indian officials are not expecting any change in the situation at present. Trudeau’s popularity is plummeting in Canada, and many expect the Conservatives to win next year’s parliamentary elections. With Trudeau heavily dependent on the Sikh votes, Trudeau is unlikely to upset the applecart at the moment. India has often pointed fingers at Canada for keeping alive the Khalistan movement.

The G7 summit is being hosted by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and being held in Borgo Egnazia, Apulia in the southern Italian region of Puglia. An interesting tidbit cited by CNN is that the notorious Italian mafia is staging a comeback in the region. There has been an uptick of violence and gang wars. In a half yearly report released by the Italian Interior ministry in 2024, it was noted there were worrying signs of criminal activity and gang wars. It cited instances of high-profile vendetta murders.

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