External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will arrive in London on Monday for a four-day visit, primarily to attend a conference of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations. The United Kingdom has invited India to an in-person G7 foreign ministers conference, to which the FMs of Australia, South Korea, and South Africa, as well as the Chair and Secretary-General of the G7, have been invited.
ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has also been invited.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Relations, “The External Affairs Minister will travel to London from May 3 to 6, 2021, to attend the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting, to which India has been invited as a guest country. He will then pay a bilateral visit to the United Kingdom.”
The meeting will be held in London from May 3rd to 5th, and it will be the first physical G7 FMs meeting in over two years. The most recent G7 FMs meeting was held in April 2019 in Dinard and Saint-Malo, France.
Prior to the visit, EAM and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab discussed a variety of topics, including the current covid pandemic in India.
The United Kingdom is sending supplies to India to combat the deadly covid pandemic. There are 495 oxygen concentrators that can draw oxygen from the air, 120 non-invasive ventilators, and 20 manual ventilators among the equipment.
EAM’s visit would include not only participation in the G7 FMs meeting, but also a number of bilateral meetings.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will also visit London, and a bilateral meeting between the two is anticipated. This would be the first face-to-face meeting between the two ministers since the current Biden administration took office.
The US State Department said, “Secretary Blinken will attend the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers Meeting in London, United Kingdom, from May 3-5, 2021.”
The G7 is a coalition of seven developed nations, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union. The meeting’s main priority will be on the global covid crisis, which threatens to ravage vast areas of the world, but also on climate change, with the UK expected to host the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) later this year.
The meeting will also discuss the agenda for the forthcoming G7 leaders meeting, which will be hosted by the United Kingdom. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to the 47th G7 summit, which will be held from June 11th to 13th in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK. Since 2019, India has been invited to the G7 summit on a regular basis, first by France, then by the US in 2020, and now by the UK this year.
The physical G7 meeting last year, hosted by then-US President Donald Trump, did not take place for unknown reasons, perhaps due to a covid pandemic.
Manmohan Singh, the then-Indian Prime Minister, was first invited to the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005 by the United Kingdom. The group was renamed the G7 after Russia was “disinvited” in 2014 due to the Crimea crisis.