US President Joe Biden leaves for India to attend G20 Summit, hold talks with PM Modi

Washington: US President Joe Biden on Thursday left for India where he would attend the G20 Summit in New Delhi and hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Biden will follow the COVID-19 guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during his visit to India for the G20 Summit, the White House has said.

First Lady Jill Biden, 72, tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. President Biden, 80, was tested for the virus on Monday and Tuesday following his wife’s positive test, but his results were negative.

Less than an hour before his departure for India, the White House said, “The President tested negative for Covid.” After arriving in New Delhi on Friday evening, President Biden is expected to have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi the same night.

His meetings and interactions with Modi and other world leaders during and on the sidelines of the G20 Summit would be driven by the COVID-19 protocols established by the CDC.

The First Lady was quarantined at her Delaware house after testing positive and is not travelling with the president to India and Vietnam. On Thursday, her office said, “The First Lady tested negative for Covid today.” “He (Joe Biden) is very excited about the important initiatives that he will be championing at the G20,” White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communication John Kirby told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.

He said Biden’s focus is going to be on delivering economic opportunity for developing countries, making progress on key priorities for the American people, from climate to technology, and showing the US’ commitment to the G20 itself as a viable, if not vital, forum to tackle these issues.

“Of course, now, we’re grateful for Prime Minister Modi’s leadership during India’s presidency of the G20, and the President is certainly looking forward to his bilateral meeting with the prime minister shortly after his arrival in New Delhi,” Kirby added.

The G20 member countries represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

The grouping 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).