West needs India's support to confront challenges, G7 is proof: Foreign Secretary

"India's regular participation at the G7 summits clearly points to increasing acceptance and recognition that India needs to be a part of any and every sustained effort to find solutions to solve global challenges," Kwatra said at a media briefing.

West needs India's support to confront challenges, G7 is proof: Foreign Secretary

New Delhi: India's regular participation at the G7 summits clearly reflects that the West needs its support to confront major challenges facing the globe, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said on Friday, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Germany to attend the annual conclave of the powerful bloc. The summit of the G7, a grouping of the world's seven richest nations, will be held in the Alpine castle of Schloss Elmau in southern Germany on June 26 and 27 amid the war in Ukraine that has fuelled a global food and energy crisis.

"India's regular participation at the G7 summits clearly points to increasing acceptance and recognition that India needs to be a part of any and every sustained effort to find solutions to solve global challenges," Kwatra said at a media briefing.

He said Modi will hold bilateral meetings and discussions with the leaders of G7 and also the guest countries on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

Besides India, Germany has also invited Argentina, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa as guests for the summit to recognise the democracies of the global south as its partners. Germany is hosting the summit in its capacity as G7 chair for this year.

From Germany, Modi will travel to the United Arab Emirates on June 28 to pay his condolences on the passing away of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the former president of the Gulf nation.

Asked whether India would be under pressure from the G7 countries to restrict its procurement of crude oil from Russia, the foreign secretary made it clear that sourcing of energy is totally driven by the country's national interests, adding that consideration is "very well understood".

"Whatever the trading arrangements that India puts in place with regard to the purchase of crude oil all over the world are determined purely from the consideration of energy security of India and there is no other consideration," he said.

"I think that consideration is very well understood. I would even say appreciated across the countries. I do not see any point of assuming any pressure on that issue. India has continued its oil trade and purchases from wherever we need to do it," he said.

Kwatra said it is purely determined, governed and motivated by India's energy security considerations, noting that it is one of the key aspects in terms of the country's national economic interests.

The Western countries are gradually slashing their energy purchases from Russia following its attack on Ukraine.

Asked about the growing food crisis arising out of the Ukraine crisis, Kwatra said India has taken a very "proactive" stance to ensure food security of the vulnerable countries.

Ukraine is a major producer of wheat and the halt in its exports of the staple food has triggered its shortage.

"I think the Russia-Ukraine situation has generated a certain amount of food security crisis all over the world and as a responsible nation, India has taken a very and proactive stance to ensure that the food security of the vulnerable countries are addressed in a manner that their needs are addressed," Kwatra said.

At the same time, he emphasised on India's approach that the food security within the country is absolutely not at all impacted.

"I think, there has been a widespread appreciation of the manner in which India has taken forward this position," Kwatra said.

Asked if the issue of growing Chinese assertiveness in the region, including along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), would figure in the G7, the foreign secretary did not give a direct reply.

However, he referred to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's recent comments about challenges facing Asia and Indo-Pacific, adding these were faced before the Ukraine crisis began.

Kwatra said India talked about the responsibility of the world in dealing with the challenges in every forum.

"We all know from where the military challenges are coming from", he said.

On the crisis in Ukraine, Kwatra said India's position has always been very clear as it has been asking for cessation of hostilities right from the beginning of the conflict and clearly said that the path to the resolution of the problem is through diplomacy and dialogue.

US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among the top leaders attending the summit.

On June 27, Modi is scheduled to participate in two sessions along with other partner countries of the G7 summit. The first one relates to climate, energy and health and the second one is on food security and gender equality.

The prime minister is also scheduled to have an interaction with the Indian diaspora at a community event during his stay for the G7 summit, Kwatra said.

After attending the G7 Summit, the prime minister will be travelling to the United Arab Emirates on June 28 to pay his personal condolences on the passing away of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the former UAE President and Abu Dhabi Ruler, Kwatra said.

Asked whether the controversy relating to objectionable remarks against Prophet Mohammed would figure during Modi's visit to the UAE, the foreign secretary said India has already clarified its position about the issue and that almost all countries in the Gulf region have a clear understanding of New Delhi's stand on it.

"Almost all countries in the Gulf region have a clear understanding of India's position. We clarified our position on the issue multiple times. I do not think there is a need to specifically discuss this issue going forward," he said.

He said Modi will hold a meeting with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and it will be their first interaction after the UAE leader's election as the new president of the Gulf nation.

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