New Delhi (Web Desk): G2O leaders gathered in New Delhi to attend the first day G20 summit on Saturday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Saudi Arabia's Mohammed Bin Salman and Japan's Fumio Kishida and others with speech to the delegates.
But the bloc remained deeply divided, with absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese Premier Li Qiang is attending the summit instead.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will also be absent from the event.
It is pertinent to note that China’s Xi Jinping has attended every G20 summit since taking office, but is skipping this one.
No official reason was given for the absence, but Xi has reprimanded Modi about a China-India deadly border dispute and been open about making US-led groupings like the G20 more cooperative towards Beijing’s interests.
Russia is being represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov instead, and he has said he will block the final declaration if it does not reflect Moscow's position on Ukraine and other crises.
As per the Russian media, President Putin's schedule was too busy, however, the western media reports claim that he was trying to avoid his possible detention by the International Criminal Court (ICC) which issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest earlier this year, accusing him of war crimes in Ukraine.
Furthermore, the bloc also seems divisive over the war in Ukraine, with Western nations pushing for strong condemnation of Russia while others demanded that the group focus on broader economic issues.
In a major development, Modi in his opening remarks at the summit, invited the African Union (AU) Chairperson Azali Assoumani, to take a seat at the table of G20 leaders as a permanent member, granting permanent membership to the AU in an effort to make the G20 more representative.
While the bloc has seen major divisions, a joint declaration in the end of summit seems difficult, a failure of G20 leaders to agree on a joint summit statement, could be seen as an embarrassment for India and for Modi’s claim of uniting developing and richer members.
While the Delhi police is in charge of overall security, thousands of personnel have been brought in from other government services, including paramilitary forces. According to India media The Indian Air Force’s fighter planes have also been deployed to safeguard Delhi’s skies.