The G7 countries on Saturday adopted a plan to fulfil infrastructure needs in low and middle-income countries, a rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative

US President Joe Biden met G7 leaders to “discuss strategic competition with China” and commit to concrete actions to help poorer countries, the White House said.

“President Biden and G7 partners agreed to launch the bold new global infrastructure initiative Build Back Better World (B3W), a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership led by major democracies to help narrow the $40+ trillion infrastructure need in the developing world, which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the White House added.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative has helped build roads and ports in several countries, but has been criticised for burdening those countries with debts.

The multi-trillion-dollar project was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. More than 100 countries have entered into agreements with China under the project, Reuters reported.

PM Modi to address G7 Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the 47th G7 Summit virtually on Saturday.

This is the second time that Modi is attending a G7 meeting. In 2019, France had invited India to attend the Biarritz Summit as a goodwill partner.

Modi will participate in another session of the G7 Summit on Sunday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The theme of the G7 Summit this year is “Build Back Better”. Among the priority areas set out by he UK was “global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics”.

Globally, the coronavirus disease has infected over 17.51 crore people and killed more than 37.80 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.

India is grappling with a ferocious second wave of the pandemic. On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron had said it was “absolutely necessary” for the G7 leaders to lift restrictions on the export of vaccine raw materials so that India could increase its production and supply to other countries.

Macron also supported a proposal by India and South Africa at the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive the patent on coronavirus vaccines.