India hosts G20 Presidency summit at Swaraj Dweep in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Earlier this month, during the Bali summit, Indonesia handed over the G20 Presidency to India for the coming year.

PTIUpdated: Saturday, November 26, 2022, 02:15 PM IST
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G20 delegates reach Swaraj Dweep. | PTI

Swaraj Dweep, popularly known as Havelock Island, in Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been decked up to host one of the much-awaited meetings of the G20 Presidency which will be held on Saturday afternoon.

Spread over an area of 92.2 sq km and having a population of 5,500, Swaraj Dweep is two-and-half-hour by sea journey from Port Blair in government ferries and private cruises. As Swaraj Dweep is known for its pristine beaches, G20 India coordinator Harsh Vardhan Shringla and G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant organised a yoga session on Kala Patthar beach on Saturday morning for around 40 delegates from various countries.

The beach is nearly 13 km from the private hotel where they are staying. The delegates, including British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis, Russian ambassador Denis Alipov, German envoy Dr P Ackermann, Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O'Farrell and others reached the island around 7.30 pm on Friday after a tour of Cellular Jail in Port Blair, a senior official said.

They took a tour of the cell where freedom fighter V.D.Savarkar was lodged. On Saturday morning, around 6 am, the delegates went to Kala Patthar beach and took part in the yoga session.

After the session, they participated in a beach-cleaning activity. They will assemble at the banquet of the hotel around 1 pm, when the meeting will begin, he said.

The session is likely to continue till 4 pm and participants are likely to discuss areas including culture and tourism, climate financing, circular economy, global food security, energy security, green hydrogen, disaster risk reduction and resilience, developmental cooperation, education, commerce, skill-mapping, fight against economic crime and multilateral reforms, the official said.

After the meeting, the delegates will be taken to Radhanagar beach to view sunset, he added.

On Sunday, the delegates will depart from Port Blair on a chartered flight around 12.30 pm. They will reach IGI airport at Delhi around 4 pm.

Shringla had earlier said, "Andaman is important. At the G20 summit in Bali, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Indonesian President Joko Widodo that the two countries are 90 nautical miles close and not 90 nautical miles apart. Andaman and Nicobar Islands are closest to Indonesia and therefore this place is symbolic for the meeting."

Earlier this month, during the Bali summit, Indonesia handed over the G20 Presidency to India for the coming year.

The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world's major developed and developing economies.

Locals have welcomed the Centre's initiative to host the meeting in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, saying such events will help in the development of the archipelago.

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