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Fighting terrorism, climate change and global trade will be at the core when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders from the world’s other top economies assemble here for a two-day G20 Summit beginning tomorrow.
Any possible meeting between Modi, who is expected to have a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines during his two-day stay in this port city, and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be keenly watched in the wake of the recent spat between the two countries over developments near Sikkim.
The Summit, with a theme of ‘Shaping an Inter-connected World’, is taking place at a time when differences have emerged among several leaders expected to be present — mostly on publicly stated views of the US President Donald Trump –including on issues like climate change and open trade.
Other top leaders expected to be present include Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May of the UK.
The ‘Group of Twenty’ is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. The countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US.
While Hamburg happens to be city of birth for the Summit host and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it is also known as an ‘anti-establishment bastion’ of Left-wing radicals.
At least 30 protests are expected to be held here ahead of the Summit that may attract thousands of people, including from anti-capitalist groups. Local authorities expect these protests to remain peaceful and around 15,000 police personnel will be deployed to protect the venue. Besides, nearly 4,000 personnel will keep a tab on the airport and train security.
While counter-terrorism and economic reforms will dominate the discussions, the 12th G20 Summit will also discuss issues like free and open trade, climate change, migration, sustainable development and global stability.
Modi, who is reaching Hamburg after a visit to Israel, said in a Facebook post before his departure from India that he is looking forward to “engaging leaders from other G20 countries on the vital issues affecting our world today that have a bearing on economic growth, sustainable development, and peace and stability”.
The prime minister said the world leaders will review progress on decisions since the Hangzhou Summit last year and deliberate on issues of terrorism, climate, sustainable development, growth and trade, digitisation, health, employment, migration, women’s empowerment, and partnership with Africa.
He further said he is looking forward to the opportunity to meet leaders on the sidelines of the Summit to exchange views on bilateral matters of mutual interest.
The Summit will begin tomorrow with Merkel welcoming the world leaders, followed by ‘G20 Leaders’ Retreat’ where the topic of discussion will be ‘fighting terrorism’.
The first working session will be on ‘global growth and trade’, followed by the second session on ‘sustainable development, climate and energy’.
The world leaders will also attend a musical concert tomorrow evening, followed by a dinner for them and their spouses.
The second day of the Summit will begin with the third working session on ‘partnership with Africa, migration and health’ while the fourth working session will be on ‘digitisation, women’s empowerment and employment’.
These two will be followed by a closing session on Saturday evening, after which a joint statement by the G20 leaders will be issued.