US President Joe Biden is all set to visit India and is “very excited” about the important initiatives he will be championing at the G20 Summit in New Delhi, according to senior White House officials.
Biden will follow the Covid-19 guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during his visit to India for the G20 Summit.
First Lady Jill Biden, 72, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. President Biden, 80, was tested for the virus on Monday and Tuesday following his wife’s positive test, but his results were negative.
The White House said the president has tested negative twice and there is no change in his travel plans for India.
After arriving in New Delhi on Friday evening, President Biden is likely to immediately get back to business by having his bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the same night.
His meetings and interactions with Modi and other world leaders during and on the sidelines of the G20 Summit would be driven by the Covid-19 protocols established by the CDC.
The First Lady is quarantined at her Delaware house after testing positive and is not travelling with the president to India and Vietnam.
The president tested negative for Covid-19 this morning following the negative test on Monday night and also yesterday. He is not experiencing any symptoms, which of course is a good thing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference on Wednesday.
Responding to a volley of questions from reporters, Jean-Pierre reiterated that there is no change in the president’s travel plans.
The president and the travelling members of the US delegation would be tested frequently for Covid-19. Biden is expected to be tested at least one more time before his departure from the White House for India on Thursday evening.
He (Biden) leaves tomorrow, and he’s very excited about the important initiatives that he will be championing at the G20,” White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communication John Kirby told reporters at a separate news conference organised by Washington Foreign Press Center.
He said Biden’s focus is going to be on delivering economic opportunity for developing countries, making progress on key priorities for the American people, from climate to technology, and showing US’ commitment to the G20 itself as a viable, if not vital, forum to tackle these issues.
Of course, now, we’re grateful for Prime Minister Modi’s leadership during India’s presidency of the G20, and the President is certainly looking forward to his bilateral meeting with the prime minister shortly after his arrival in New Delhi.
“He’s also looking forward to warmly welcoming the African Union as a permanent member of the G20, the newest permanent member. And we believe that the African Union’s voice will make the G20 even stronger than it already is, Kirby said.
He hoped that the G20 countries would be able to issue a joint statement.
We know that the Indians also would like to see a joint communique, if you will, so we’ll see where it goes.
“Oftentimes the sticking point tends to be the war in Ukraine because countries like Russia and China are less likely to sign on to language that the rest of the international community is more uncomfortable signing on to, so we’ll see where it goes. But we’d like to see that, absolutely, Kirby said.
Apart from President Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are among the G20 leaders who have already confirmed their participation in the summit.
Prime Minister Modi will hand over the baton of the G20 Presidency to Brazilian President Lula on September 10.
Brazil will formally assume the G20 Presidency on December 1.
The G20 member countries represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
The grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU).
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