The 18th G-20 Leaders’ Summit began on Saturday in India’s capital New Delhi under the theme, “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed world leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as they arrived at the venue for the first day of the summit. The leaders posed for welcome photographs with the Indian premier.

The two-day summit is being held at the newly inaugurated Pragati Maidan conference center at the Bharat Mandapam culture corridor, where a statue of Nataraja, the Hindu God of dance, as an important symbol of cosmic energy, creativity and power — is located.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have skipped the meeting, which hopes to make progress on trade, climate and other global problems.

The summit began with the “One Earth” session during which Modi invited the African Union, a bloc of 55 countries, as a permanent member of the G-20. “This will strengthen the G-20 and also strengthen the voice of the Global South,” Modi said.

The Indian leader called on the world to change the “global trust deficit” into “confidence in each other.”

“This is a time when age-old challenges are demanding new solutions … we must fulfil each of our responsibilities and move forward. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is now going through a new major crisis, that is a lack of trust,” he said.

“War has further deepened this trust deficit. If we can defeat COVID, we can also achieve victory over this trust deficit crisis.”

Modi addressed the delegates with a nameplate that listed his country as Bharat, an ancient Sanskrit name that also figured on the official invitation for the delegates of the Group of 20. Currently, the country’s Constitution has both India and Bharat, making them the official names of the world’s most populous country.

Later, the leaders of the wealthiest economies will attend the second session, “One Family.”

Indian President Droupadi Murmu, meanwhile, will be hosting a G-20 dinner for the delegates.

Leaders to adopt declaration

On Sunday, leaders will lay wreaths at Mahatma Gandhi’s tomb in New Delhi before attending a tree-planting ceremony.

After the third session, “One Future,” the leaders are expected to adopt the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, a commitment to priorities discussed and agreed upon during the respective ministerial and working group meetings.

The G-20 currently comprises 19 countries and the EU, with the members representing around 85% of global GDP, and more than 75% of global trade.

The intergovernmental forum plays an important role in shaping and strengthening global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues.

The member states are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, the UK and the US.

Besides the members, term president India also invited the leaders of Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Egypt, Mauritius, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.

In addition to international organizations such as the UN, International Monetary Fund and World Bank, India also invited members of the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and the Asian Development Bank as guests.

The G-20 presidency will be taken over by Brazil in 2024 and South Africa in 2025.

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