COVID-19: Modi hopes for productive G20 virtual summit


In a move reminiscent of the 2008 global financial crisis, which birthed the G20 grouping, the leaders of the world’s most powerful economies are set to hold a virtual summit on March 26 to forge a collective response to preventing and mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic.  For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had proposed the G0 virtual summit, it’s a moment of special gratification and an opportunity to demonstrate India’s leadership in addressing global crises like COVID-19.“The G-20 has an important role to play in addressing the pandemic. I look forward to a productive discussion,” PM Modi tweeted.

Saudi Arabia, the current chair of the grouping, had last week announced to hold the conference after PM Modi and Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud spoke on the phone about the meeting.The meeting is likely to advance a globally coordinated response to the pandemic. Apart from the leaders of the G-20 nations, the heads of state of Jordan, Spain, Singapore, and Switzerland are expected to attend. The United Arab Emirates will also participate in its capacity as the sitting president of the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

In a separate video conference earlier this week, the G-20 finance ministers and central banks agreed to develop an action plan to boost the economy in the wake of the outbreak, which the IMF said could trigger a global recession.According to the World Health Organization, more than 400,000 people have been infected by the virus so far, including nearly 18,000 deaths worldwide.