India has been invited to the G-7 (Group of Seven) summit which France would host at Biarritz on its southwestern coast from August 24 to 26.
Alexandre Ziegler, Paris’s envoy to New Delhi, on Friday, told journalists that India had been “officially invited” to the G-7. He said that France had also invited India to take part in the preparatory meetings during the run-up to the summit.
The G-7 at present comprises France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States – the seven of the advanced economies designated so by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Russia was also a member of the bloc from 1998 through 2014, a period when it was known as the Group of Eight (G-8).
The bloc, however, suspended Russia following its annexation of Crimea.
Sources said that New Delhi had about a month back received the French Government’s invitation for India to attend the G-7 summit and the invitation had already been accepted.
If incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be in the office after the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, he, himself, may attend the summit. In case of a change in the regime in New Delhi after the elections, the new government would take a call on the level of participation, sources told the DH.
Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh had attended an outreach session of the G-8 summit at Gleneagles in the United Kingdom in July 2005. The bloc had then also included Russia. The UK, which had hosted the 2005 summit, had invited not only India but also Brazil, China, Mexico and South Africa in the outreach session.
Sources in New Delhi said that the French Government’s invitation to India to attend the G-7 summit this year had reflected growing stature and economic clout of the country.
The G-7 represents 58% of the global net wealth, more than 46% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) based on nominal values and more than 32% of the global GDP based on purchasing power parity. It came into existence in 1975 as a Group of Six with France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, and the US. Canada joined the bloc in 1976 making it Group of Seven or G-7, which remained as an important forum of the industrialized democracies for coordinating economic, security and energy policies. Its relevance, however, came under questions in the recent years, particularly after the G-20 came into existence in 1999 as an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union and started expanding its agenda in 2008.
India is a member of the G-20 and the Prime Minister – Modi or whoever else succeeds him after the LS polls – is expected to take part in the summit of the bloc at Osaka in Japan from June 28 to 29.