New Delhi: Battling a dented global image, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to skip the G 7 summit to demonstrate that he values political correctness in these times of COVID over his uncontrollable wanderlust.
The summit, which brings together leaders of UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, is scheduled to take place in Cornwall from June 11-13. The host UK has invited Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea as guest countries to the summit this year.
The move comes after Modi called off a scheduled visit to the Portuguese city of Porto to participate in the India-EU summit on May 8 and a visit to France to meet President Emmanuel Macron. The meeting with EU leaders was subsequently held in a virtual format.
Modi’s decision on not attending the G 7 summit scheduled in Cornwall was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs. “While appreciating the invitation to the Prime Minister from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend the G 7 summit as a Special invitee, given the prevailing COVID situation, it has been decided that the Prime Minister will not attend the summit in person,” said the MEA Spokesperson, Mr Arindam Bagchi, in response to media queries.
Political observers say that Modi is trying very hard to prove that the PM really cares for India by churning out favourable vaccine statistics; more so, since he is getting tremendous flak for the ham-handed handling of the Covid second wave.
In this scenario, a visit to UK would have also meant having to answer a lot of uncomfortable questions posed by world leaders and global media on India’s healthcare crisis.
Only yesterday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a note of caution and pointed to the need to monitor new variants of coronavirus, including the so-called ‘Indian variant’ which has now been classed as a Variant of Concern (VOC) by Public Health England (PHE).