At the G20, Biden joins forces with India and the Middle East, sidelining China

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After announcing the new corridor linking India with the Middle East, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Princess Mohammed bin Salman shake hands.

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President Biden shakes hand with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, and India’s prime minister Narendra Modi following the announcement of a new corridor linking India to Europe and the Middle East.

Ludovic Marina/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Biden made the announcement at the G20 summit, which China’s president Xi Jinping decided to miss this year. Biden then held hands with India’s Narendra Modi and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman as a way to commemorate the occasion. The United States and Europe announced at the G20 new investments for a rail link that will connect Angola to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and the United States. Both of these are big, huge steps, but they’re not the only ones. Biden stated that “we’re continuing to invest in infrastructure all over the world.”
At the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India’s Narendra Modi presents a mural depicting the Konark Sun Temple wheel to Vice President Biden.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra modi presents a mural depicting the Konark Sun Temple wheel to US President Biden during the G20 Summit in New Delhi.

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That’s created an opening. That’s created an opening

The summit has been a top priority for Modi, a leader who Biden has sought to bring closer as a counterbalance to China in the Indo-Pacific region.Images of Modi’s state visit to Washington in June graced a giant video billboard near the airport where Air Force One landed, and G20 posters featuring Modi were plastered around the capital. Modi declared a three-day public holiday for the G20, and the streets around the summit were bare, with the public kept far from the events.
Leaders from China, the world’s second-largest economy, and Russia — a long-time partner of India — opted not to attend.

“I think for our Indian partners, there is substantial disappointment that they’re not here — and gratitude that we are,” said Kurt Campbell, Biden’s top National Security Council adviser on the Indo-Pacific region.

Journalists have also been tightly restricted from events, drawing attention to India’s track record on press freedom, and highlighting a challenge for Biden as he tries to develop a closer relationship with leaders who don’t fully embrace human rights.


Campbell said it’s something that Biden chooses to raise behind closed doors.

“My experience is that the president is direct, open and does not shy from hard challenges. Campbell said that Biden is direct, open and does not shy away from hard challenges.
President Biden is in New Delhi for a session of the G20. India’s Narendra Modi used the precolonial Hindi name of his country during the summit.

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President Biden attended a session at the G20 summit in New Delhi. India’s Narendra Modi used the precolonial Hindi name of his country during the summit.

Evelyn Hockstein/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

He has also championed a G7 initiative known as the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, or PGII, which has similar aims. He has also championed the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), a G7 initiative with similar goals.