India right country to hold G20 presidency, says Sunak

The British Prime Minister noted that India’s presidency of the bloc came when the world is facing innumerable challenges…reports Asian Lite News

India’s diversity and its extraordinary successes means it is the “right country” at the “right time” to hold the G20 presidency, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday, as he hailed Narendra Modi’s leadership over the last year, noting that India’s presidency of the bloc came when the world is facing innumerable challenges.

Sunak, the first Indian-origin prime minister of Britain, said the relationship between the UK and India will define the future of the two countries, even more than it is defining the present.

“This country’s scale, diversity and its extraordinary successes means India is the right country at the right time to hold the G20 Presidency. I pay tribute to Prime Minister Modi’s leadership over the last year and it’s wonderful to see India showing such global leadership,” he said.

“We will also work closely with India through their Presidency of the G20 to address the biggest challenges the world is facing, from stabilising the global economy to dealing with climate change,” Sunak said.

The British premier, PM Modi, US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida and other G20 leaders are set to deliberate extensively on pressing global issues including consequences of the Ukraine war at the G20 summit.

‘2023 a huge year for India’

“2023 is a huge year for India, from all the different G20 meetings taking place all over the country to the Cricket World Cup next month — India is definitely home to the biggest global geopolitical events of the year!,” he said.

The 43-year-old leader of the Conservative Party also referred to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and asserted that if Russian President Vladimir Putin is allowed to invade a sovereign neighbour with impunity, then it will have “terrible consequences” for the entire world.

On Ukraine war

“As two major world democracies, our people define and drive us. That is why the UK is focused on supporting Ukraine to defend itself and defeat this illegal and unprovoked Russian invasion,” he said.

“As a free and democratic country, Ukraine has the right to determine its own future. If Putin is allowed to invade a sovereign neighbour with impunity it will have terrible consequences for the entire world.”

The British premier said nobody wants peace more than the Ukrainians, but it is Putin who has the power to end the war “tomorrow” by withdrawing his troops.

“Until he does, we will help the vulnerable in Ukraine and around the world deal with the terrible consequences of Putin’s war, including the spike in the global price of food and energy caused by his manipulation of markets and attacks on grain supplies,” he asserted.

Sunak’s comments came as India faces the uphill task of building a consensus on the text to refer to the Ukraine crisis in the G20 leaders’ declaration.

Both Russia and China had agreed to the two paragraphs on the Ukraine conflict in last year’s Bali declaration, but they backtracked from it this year creating difficulties for India. “India has taken on the Presidency of the G20 at a time when the world is facing multiple challenges,” Sunak said.

“In the last twelve months we’ve seen sharp rise in inflation and economic instability, we’ve witnessed the outbreak of conflict in Sudan, military coups in Niger and Gabon, and the ongoing repression of human rights in Afghanistan and elsewhere,” he added.

Sunak said he is looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Modi and deliberate on how collaboration between India and the UK helps in dealing with various global challenges.

“When I meet Prime Minister Modi again this week it will be an opportunity to speak about some of the global challenges we face, and the huge role that the UK and India have to play in addressing them,” he said.

On the possible outcome of the G20 summit, Sunak said: “We will have to wait and see what the summit outcomes will be. The UK certainly is here to support India’s efforts in achieving a successful summit.”

‘Lauds India-UK ties’

He said what makes the UK-India relationship “truly unique” is the “Living Bridge” between the countries which includes a 1.6 million-strong Indian diaspora in the UK, and which connects “our people across culture, education, food, sport and more.”

“The relationship between the UK and India will define the future of our two countries, even more than it is defining the present,” he said.

“We have already achieved so much under this roadmap, including the mutual recognition of higher education qualifications, new visa routes for young professionals, and billions in new investment deals including British firms like Tesco, Deliveroo and Revolut establishing or expanding their presence in India, creating thousands of new jobs,” Sunak said in an exclusive interview to PTI just days ahead of the G20 summit in Delhi.

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