April 13, 2024

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G20 Summit: US says India is disappointed Xi and Putin will not attend G20, but Biden sees it as an opportunity

G20 Summit: US says India is disappointed Xi and Putin will not attend G20, but Biden sees it as an opportunity

New Delhi

president Joe Biden He arrived in India on Friday for two days summit At the moment of division between the world’s leading economies, hoping to seize the opportunity created by the absence of the Russian and Chinese leaders.

Biden’s first order of business upon his arrival was to meet one-on-one with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence. And Biden has sought to fully embrace India as one of the most important partnerships for the United States in the twenty-first century and a key regional ally to counter China.

White House officials described India as a “disappointment” that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping did not attend this weekend’s summit, but added that the United States intends to use the summit as an opportunity to strengthen relations with the rest of the countries. nations present.

“I will say that I think our Indian partners are very disappointed that they’re not here and grateful that we’re here,” Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell told reporters shortly after Biden met with his Indian counterpart. Modi.

The White House remains deeply concerned about Modi’s human rights record and what many see as a backsliding on democracy in India, including… Restrictions on the press. As Biden was heading to New Delhi, officials aboard Air Force One said India had refused US requests to allow journalists access to the two leaders’ meeting.

“The leaders reaffirmed that the shared values ​​of freedom, democracy, human rights, inclusion, pluralism and equal opportunities for all citizens are critical to the success that our countries enjoy and that these values ​​strengthen our relationship,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting. Read the meeting.

The leaders also announced a series of agreements on technology and trade, and praised agreements on high-tech trade, including semiconductors, telecommunications and computing. They also said they have settled the seventh and final dispute pending in the World Trade Organization between India and the US.

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Modi also “looks forward to welcoming President Biden to the next Quartet leaders’ summit to be hosted by India in 2024.”

After the meeting, officials celebrated the improved relationship between India and the United States – calling it “completely transformed” – but say Biden is still pressing Modi on the state of his country’s democracy.

“In every meeting I’ve been in with the president, the president has been very clear about the importance of the health of democracy,” Campbell said. He added: “It does not do so in a way that suggests one country is teaching another country lessons. Rather, we all face common challenges and believe it is important to continually ask the difficult questions about our democracy.”

Campbell said Biden made clear to Modi that democracy is “an important issue in our bilateral relationship.” Biden also had a “special interaction” with Modi and “did not shy away from difficult challenges,” but the president “starts from a platform of trust and confidence.”

“India is still a work in progress, and I think the key here is to maintain a respectful dialogue and approach some of the challenges with a degree of humility in light of some of the challenges we have faced in our country. And also through the link,” Campbell said.

Biden does not aim to heal the fractures that occurred during his time in New Delhi. But with an emphasis on confrontation ChinaHe hopes to convince a divided world that the United States remains a committed and valuable partner.

He arrived at a time when U.S. polls showed strong headwinds for his re-election bid. CNN poll The day of his departure showed that two-thirds of Democratic-leaning voters did not want Biden to be the 2024 nominee.

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Biden’s advisers believe his activities on the world stage can help provide a contrast with the Republicans, and his campaign released a television ad on Thursday highlighting his visit to Ukraine earlier this year.

But Biden’s shaky political stance has fellow leaders, especially in Europe, wondering what the coming year portends and whether Biden’s pledges for a strong US role in the world will continue.

And in New Delhi, Biden hopes to make the argument that the United States can serve as a better partner for developing countries than China. He has an unexpected opportunity to make his case: Chinese President Xi Jinping will miss this weekend’s summit, the first time he has missed the G-20 since taking office in 2012.

While this is a missed opportunity in some respects — Biden and Xi met for hours at the G-20 summit in Bali last year — it also opens the way for the United States to make its case for American partnership.

At a time when the extremely fragile state of the Chinese economy is causing deep concern about the global effects, Biden hopes to use the relative strength of the US market to make his bid. Campbell said there are “undeniable opportunities” for the United States at the summit given the leaders who will attend – and those who will not.

I think we are fully intent on strengthening and deepening our relationship, leaving it to China in particular to discuss and explain why they are not here. “It really is their business,” he said.

He does not arrive empty-handed. It comes armed with proposals to reform the World Bank and increase its investment, and to tap American money to unlock hundreds of billions of dollars in new grants and loans for the developing world.

The White House insists that the steps are not related to confronting Beijing.

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“It’s not just about responding to China, it’s about addressing long-term global challenges, and reducing poverty,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a morning news conference in New Delhi.

However, the White House said institutions such as the World Bank could provide an alternative to what they say are China’s coercive lending practices.

Before Biden’s arrival, officials were working hastily to craft joint declarations that could be signed by the end of the summit. But the talks were difficult, diplomats said, and reflected wide divisions within the G20 over the most contentious global issues.

And while diplomats continue to debate what language to include in the leaders’ final statement, Campbell has sought to downplay the significance of the process.

“It’s just the way it’s always been. It comes down to this,” he said. “We’ve found that on many of the issues we care about, we’re making progress. Clearly there has been some progress forward on climate.

“It’s the last minute when things come together,” he said. “And look, I’ll tell you the US team is extraordinarily efficient and capable, and we’ve got some interviewers ready, and we’ll see what’s possible.”

And while Biden succeeded in rallying support in the West for Ukraine, he was not necessarily convincing among leaders in the so-called Global South, including India, Brazil and South Africa.

The failure to agree on a common language may be a major disappointment to this year’s summit host, Modi, who has focused discussions here on the developing world but also cemented his status as a global statesman.

Modi’s face has been plastered all over New Delhi as he welcomes delegates to the G-20 and proclaims the slogan: “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.