Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed disappointment the leaders of China and Russia opted to skip the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi during a private meeting with US President Joe Biden, US officials said Friday.
(Bloomberg) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed disappointment the leaders of China and Russia opted to skip the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi during a private meeting with US President Joe Biden, US officials said Friday.
“For our Indian partners, there is substantial disappointment that they’re not here and gratitude that we are,” Kurt Campbell, Indo-Pacific coordinator on the White House National Security Council, told reporters after the meeting between Biden and Modi.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not attending the G-20 for the second straight year, following his invasion of Ukraine, while Chinese President Xi Jinping also did not travel to India amid growing tensions between Beijing and New Delhi.
Their absence has provided an opportunity for the Biden administration to strengthen ties with nations that Russia and China are also courting, such as India.
Earlier: Biden Looks to Woo Back Allies as Putin, Xi Skip G-20 Summit
“We fully intend to strengthen and deepen our relationship and we leave it to China in particular to discuss and explain why they are not here. It’s really their business,” Campbell said Friday.
India has claimed the mantle of leadership for developing countries, now often called the Global South, and advocated for them having a more prominent voice on issues from climate policy to debt financing, posing a challenge to the US. Russia and China have sought to court those countries, pushing an alternative vision that derides institutions such as the G-20.
The US has also stepped up its efforts to engage with India, seeing the country as a counter to Chinese influence in the region and as a potential partner to shore up global supply chains on critical technologies. A state dinner for Modi that Biden hosted in June brought together corporate executives from top Silicon Valley companies, including Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google.
Campbell pointed to his own involvement in US-India affairs for over three decades, saying relations between the two powers had improved greatly in the last five to 10 years from what he characterized as discussions dominated by “distrust and uncertainty.”
He called India’s US ties “the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century” and lauded the South Asian giant’s efforts from the start of the year to lend more voice to developing countries at international venues such as the G-20.
“It’s much more that,” Campbell said, when asked if India was becoming a counterweight to China. “India is coming to understand the globally significant role it plays.”
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