Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations have gathered in London for their first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with British host Dominic Raab opening with talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The meeting from May 3 to 5 is expected to discuss ways to deal with the coronavirus pandemic besides several other pressing issues facing the world.
It is the first in-person meeting of G7 foreign ministers in over two years. The last G7 foreign ministers meeting took place in April 2019 at Dinard and Saint-Malo in France.
India has been invited to the meeting as a guest country. Minister of External Affairs S.Jaishankar is in to London to attend the meeting
The G7 member countries are Britain, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
As chair of G7, the UK has invited India, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, and the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to join parts of this year’s G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ meeting as guests.
What is the significance of Group of Seven (G7)?
• G7 is the group of top seven developed economies.
• The G7, originally G8, was set up in 1975 as an informal forum bringing together the leaders of the world’s leading industrial nations.
• Russia was expelled from what was then the G8 in 2014 when Barack Obama was US president, after Moscow annexed the Crimea region from Ukraine.
• The combined gross domestic product of G7 countries is about $40 trillion — a little less than half of the global economy.
• The annual G7 summits have over the years developed into a platform for determining the course of multilateral discourse and shaping political responses to global challenges.
• It complements the role of the G20, which is widely regarded as the framework for ongoing global economic coordination.
• It is capable of setting the global agenda, because decisions taken by these major economic powers have a real impact. The political direction set by these leaders on a policy issue will have a “ripple” effect across many other international organisations and institutions.
• Thus, decisions taken at the G7 are not legally binding, but exert strong political influence.
• In past years, the G7 has taken action to strengthen the global economy and combat tax evasion, save 27 million lives from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and supported the education of millions of children in the poorest countries. In 2015 its members led the way in helping secure the historic Paris Climate Agreement to limit global emissions.
• The UK has taken on the presidency of the G7 group of nations in 2021. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will gather leaders of G7 nations, the EU and guest countries at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall on June 11-13, 2021.
‘G7 may consider mechanism to tackle Russian propaganda’
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the G7 will look at a proposal to build a rapid response mechanism to counter Russian “propaganda” and disinformation.
Raab said the United Kingdom was “getting the G7 to come together with a rapid rebuttal mechanism” to counter Russian misinformation.
According to British, US and European security officials, Russia and China are trying to sow mistrust across the West, by spreading disinformation in elections or by spreading lies about COVID-19 vaccines.
Russia denies it is meddling beyond its borders and says the West is gripped by anti-Russian hysteria.
China says the West is a bully and that its leaders have a post-imperial mindset that makes them feel they can act like global policemen.