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Biden to capitalise on Xi & Putin’s absence at G20 Summit to push his agenda

Washington, Sep 8 (IANS) US President Joe Biden will make the best use of the absence of Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Delhi to push his agenda of a counter offensive to the escalating military and economic aggression of both countries, demonstrating America’s firm commitment to developing countries, political observers said.

Biden, who reached Delhi on Friday, will highlight at his speeches that absence of the two “autocratic leaders” of two big countries, members of the G20 grouping, will only help to fractures coursing through the gathering of the world’s largest economies and its leaders, according to one of the observers.

Leaders from 25 countries including UK premier Rishi Sunak, French President Emanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Australian Premier Anthony Albanese and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishidaare to be in attendance at the Delhi summit to work out a new world economic order based on a rule-based trading system that’s beneficial to all the nations in the group besides securing energy and geo-political security against aggressive nations.

Biden, who has an abiding faith in the power of G20, desires the nations come together at times of global peril — an obvious reference to Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s aggressive stance on south china seas and mapping Indian territories such as Arunachal Pradesh as its own — hopes geo-political issues and climate change and debt restructuring become the focal points of the multilateral debates between the countries during the two-day conclave.

“Yet unlike the smaller and more like-minded G7, this week’s larger summit brings together a wider swath of nations with a broad range of outlooks, from the war in Ukraine to the imperative to counter Beijing,” CNN quoted political observers as saying.

While some Western officials may think the utility of the G20 in an era of fractured interests and global conflict is in doubt, entering the summit, Biden’s aides emphasized they still view the forum as capable of producing valuable outcomes, sources in White House said.

“We hope this G20 summit will show that the world’s major economies can work together even in challenging times,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said this week.

“So, as we head into Delhi, our focus is going to be on delivering for developing countries, making progress on key priorities for the American people from climate to technology, and showing our commitment to the G20 as a forum that can actually deliver,” Sullivan said.

Meanwhiel, CNN showered praise on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as being the fulcrum of the summit, helming the G20 leadership to focus on developing nations interests while bolstering his stature as a global statesman — including cultivating closer ties to the US.

Biden’s first priority on arrival in the Indian capital is a late-night meeting with Modi, whose embrace by the West has drawn deep scepticism and envy in China.

Like many nations in the global south, India has not forcefully condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and continues to rely on Russian energy products shunned by the West.

But analysts in both US and India including military strategists and technologists feel that Modi is tilting more towards the West in a course correction of over reliance on Russia in its pursuit to access the latest high tech military hardware including planes and arms and ammunition to defend its borders under constant threat from both China and Pakistan.

Biden’s top economic agenda is to propose reforms to the World Bank and IMF and other multilateral institutions so as to increase funding to these development banks to focus and channel aid to developing countries for their growth, reports said.

These institutions, created in the aftermath of World War II, have funded education, public health and infrastructure programs in developing countries.

China has sought to outdo the world bank and other institutions wielding its influence through its own lending programmes often leaving countries mired in debt, US media reports commented in an obvious reference to the Sri Lankan economic crisis.

Sullivan however pointed out the World Bank reforms were “not against China”, as Beijing was a shareholder.

Yet Sullivan also described the World Bank reforms in contrast to “the scale of the PRC’s coercive and unsustainable lending through the Belt and Road Initiative”.

As confrontation between China and India escalates, nearly every step Biden takes abroad could be interpreted as a challenge to Beijing – and often is by Chinese officials, reports said.

The US government has asked Congress to authorise $3.3 billion in additional funding for the World Bank, to generate $25 billion in additional lending capacity as well as $1 billion in grants to help crises facing the poorest countries and $1 billion in global infrastructure funding.

The US expects other countries to commit to boosting funding for the bank, injecting a total of $100 billion in new lending capacity.
“The biggest shareholders of the World Bank are all sitting around the G20 table. We’ve asked Congress to appropriate the financing that we would need to deliver this $25 billion but getting other countries on board and excited about it is a huge part of scaling that up to $100 billion,” a senior US administration official said.

“With the Chinese president not there, the participation by President Biden will stand out and it will send a message to the region and to the world that the US commitment is solid, and China probably has other fish to fry,” said Yun Sun, a senior fellow and director of the Stimson Centre’s China program.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dominated the proceedings at last year’s summit of the G20 in Bali, US officials say they are aiming to show developing countries that they are committed, including financially, to supporting more than just Ukraine.

India, the summit president, has abstained from voting on UN resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has been buying record amounts of cheap Russian oil since the invasion, US media reports said adding, for Biden, the absence of Xi and Putin amounts to both a lost opportunity and an opening as all three vie for influence on the world stage.

The summit in India is also a political opportunity for Biden, whose approval ratings at home in the US are struggling, CNBC said in a report.

Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad is a news channel and fortnightly newspaper meant for Australia’s Indian community and, besides news, focuses on lifestyle subjects like health, travel, culture, arts, beauty, fashion, entertainment, Bollywood, etc. Our YouTube channel here features daily news bulletins besides infotainment videos on lifestyle subjects.

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