Migration, Indo-Pacific on agenda for G7 Summit ahead of PM Modi's meeting

The Group of Seven leading industrialised nations of the world discussed issues of migration followed by the Indo-Pacific and economic security on Friday, the second day of the three day G7 Summit in the southern Italian region of Apulia where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing an Outreach session on Artificial Intelligence, Energy, Africa and the Mediterranean.

Modi, who was received by Indian Ambassador to Italy Vani Rao as he arrived for his first overseas visit after being sworn in for a third term as PM, will hold bilateral meetings with world leaders ahead of a customary G7 "family photo".

Besides the participants of the G7 hosted by Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel - the Prime Minister will be joined by leaders of 10 other outreach nations invited to the summit.

"We will be discussing the importance of our increased focus on the Indo-Pacific," said Meloni.

"Another key issue the Italian Presidency has prioritised is also linked to Africa, and not only to Africa, and that is the matter of migration and the increasingly concerning role of human trafficking organisations that are exploiting desperate human beings," she said.

The Italian leader also compared the G7 to the leaves of the Apulia region's ubiquitous olive trees "with their solid roots, and branches projected toward the future".

Ahead of his meeting, Modi highlighted Meloni's two visits to India last year as being "instrumental" in infusing momentum and depth to the bilateral agenda, to consolidate the India-Italy strategic partnership and bolster cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the Mediterranean regions.

"Looking forward to engaging in productive discussions with world leaders. Together, we aim to address global challenges and foster international cooperation for a brighter future," Modi said after landing in Italy.

On Friday, Pope Francis becomes the first head of the Holy See - the Vatican-based government of the Catholic Church - to address the summit and is also expected to hold bilateral talks with Modi.

Heads of the governments of Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Jordan, Kenya, and Mauritania in its capacity as chair of the African Union, Tunisia, Turkiye and the UAE are among the other outreach nations joining India for the session on AI. The Pope will address the session on the promises and perils of AI and is also expected to make a plea for peace across global conflict zones.

Day one of the summit was dominated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict as the leaders agreed on a US proposal to back a USD 50-billion loan to Kyiv utilising frozen Russian assets, described by Biden as a "significant outcome" and a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Another reminder to Putin: We're not backing down. In fact, we're standing together against this illegal aggression," Biden told reporters as he was joined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was invited to the summit being held at the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia in Apulia.

"It is a strong signal that we are sending to Ukraine that we will support Ukraine in its fight for freedom for as long as it takes. It is also a strong signal to Putin that Putin cannot outlast us," added European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Earlier, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had announced up to 242 million pounds in bilateral assistance to Ukraine, to support immediate humanitarian, energy and stabilisation needs, and lay the foundations for longer-term economic and social recovery and reconstruction. India has reiterated its stance on "dialogue and diplomacy" as the best approach.

A G7 Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment Side Event, attended by World Bank chief Ajay Banga, confirmed a commitment to launching and scaling investments around Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) economic corridors globally, including corridors in Asia, Africa, and one connecting Europe to Asia through the Middle East in strategic sectors such as finance for green energy and digitalisation.


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