Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided not to travel to the United Kingdom to participate in this year’s Group of Seven Summit, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday. The decision was taken in view of the prevailing coronavirus crisis in the country.
The news came days after India’s entire delegation to a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in London had to isolate after two members tested positive for Covid-19.
“While appreciating the invitation to the Prime Minister by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend the G7 Summit as a Special Invitee, given the prevailing Covid situation, it has been decided that the Prime Minister will not attend the G7 Summit in person,” the foreign ministry said.
The G7 is a meeting of leaders of the world’s major economies, which includes UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union. This year’s edition will be held in the United Kingdom’s Cornwall region in June, in what would be the first in-person G7 Summit in almost two years.
India, which is going through its worst phase of the coronavirus pandemic, was asked to attend the gathering as a guest to “deepen the expertise and experience around the table”. Australia and South Korea have also been invited in the same capacity.
Last month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had also cancelled his trip to India in light of the surge in infections. Johnson had already postponed the trip once from January, when Covid infections were high in Britain.
India has reported more than 3 lakh cases a day every day for the past three weeks, since April 22. On May 1, it hit a new record by crossing the 4-lakh mark, the highest single-day tally by any country in the world. This was surpassed on May 7, when India recorded 4.14 lakh daily cases. So far in May, India’s daily tally has crossed the 4-lakh mark on five days. Thousands have died every day, but reports allege that the government is severely undercounting Covid-19 deaths.