PM Modi At G7 Addresses Irritants With US and Canada by StuffsEarth

Estimated read time 11 min read

Just days after being sworn in for a record third time, Prime Minister Modi was in top gear at the recently concluded G7 summit. Modi, who was at the centre of the G7 family picture, made the best use of the opportunity for a ‘pull-aside’ with US President Joe Biden. The move was significant since the two leaders didn’t have a scheduled bilateral; and with a busy domestic calendar for Biden, it’s unlikely the two leaders may meet soon. For PM Modi, it presented an opportunity to address some irritants in an otherwise strong and stable bilateral relationship.

Over the years, India and the US have forged deep ties. For the US, India checks several key boxes- common democratic values, the only counter to an ever-aggressive China in Asia and an economy poised to grow the fastest in the world. For India, closer ties with America translate into deeper partnerships in technology and defence; besides a recognition of New Delhi’s position as the leader of the Global South.

Irritants like allegations related to any possibility of India’s involvement in an alleged attempt to commit an extrajudicial killing on American soil have caused minor friction between the two countries. India has officially denied any culpability in the matter. While a single such instance will not be the defining aspect of a strong and growing bilateral partnership, the pull-aside will smoothen any fraught nerves in the Biden administration in an election year.

It was not just Biden, with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau too, PM Modi did a quick on-the-spot reach out. Canada and India have witnessed a certain sliding of their ties. New Delhi has raised concerns related to the presence of anti-India elements that it feels have been harboured by the Canadian government. Trudeau’s allegation regarding India’s involvement in the killing of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh NIjjar led to strong diplomatic backlash from India. Though the quick chat with Trudeau is unlikely to address the underlying issues between Ottawa and New Delhi, India’s message at the world’s biggest stage is that it is willing to resolve tensions. It’s now up to the Trudeau government to respond to the olive branch.

As PM Modi made the most of being the focal point of the picture, the decision by the host- Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was a carefully thought one. Meloni, who came to the G7 bolstered by a better-than-expected performance in the EU elections, projected a power image against other G7 European leaders, all of whom faced drubbing at the polls. Meloni, who is now looking to have a larger play at the European Commission and the policies it will now take, positioned herself as the only G7 leader championing the cause of the Global South. This explains her outreach to the tallest leader of the Global South- PM Modi. 

Meloni and Modi are not a geopolitical power couple, but the two Prime Ministers are now geopolitical heavyweights and the G7 summit reflected just that. 

(Gauri Dwivedi is Executive Editor, StuffsEarth)

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author

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