G20 Summit: Chinese President Xi Jinping is “almost certain” to skip the G20 Summit in New Delhi next week and Premier Li Qiang is set to represent China at the mega event, people familiar with the development said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would not attend the Summit in person as he has to focus on the "special military operation" in Ukraine. Putin had skipped the Bali Summit of G20 in November last year also.
“Many leaders in the past skipped the G20 summits for various reasons and it does not reflect anything about the host country,” the people cited above said on Saturday (September 2).
India is the host of the Summit on September 9 and 10 in its capacity as the current president of G20.
"The Chinese President is not travelling to India for the G20 Summit," said one of the people cited above, adding that Premier Li is likely to represent China at the Summit.
Xi will also skip the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and East Asia Summits in Jakarta next week.
"There are some media reports that some heads of state may skip the G20 Summit in India. These things do not reflect anything about the host country," the person said.
The Premier is likely to visit India for G20 after his presence at the East Asia Summit in Jakarta. However, there is no official word either from China or from India on who will represent Beijing at the upcoming G20 summit. In 2021, Xi had not participated in the G20 Summit in Italy due to China’s COVID restrictions.
There have been 16 physical G20 Summits since 2008, and one virtual Summit (Saudi Arabia, 2020). There were two summits each in 2009 and 2010.
Out of these 16 physical summits, except the first three summits in 2008 and 2009, there has never been a single occasion from 2010 till now when every country has attended at the Heads of State (HOS) or Heads of Government (HOG) level, the people cited above said.
"The level of attendance at global summits varies from year to year. In today's world with so many demands on the leaders' time, it is not always possible for every leader to attend every summit," said one of the sources.
They said that there have been several occasions - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017 - in G20 summits when the representation was below HOS/HOG-level from any one member country.
“There were five occasions when the representation was below HOS/HOG-level by two countries,” they added.
US President Joe Biden will travel to India between September 7 and 10 for the G20 Summit. He will hold bilateral talks with PM Modi on September 8.
The G20 group 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).
(With PTI inputs)