7 things that went down this G7 Summit

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The G7 took place from the 24th to 26th August in the seaside city of Biarritz, France. Over the span of 2 days, a lot of topics were discussed and debated with multiple talks taking place, but in the usual fashion, not much was achieved. Topics ranged from Iran, Libya, The Amazon fires, Climate change and Hong Kong. Again, not much came of these discussions but perhaps the most glaring was the missing joint statement by all the G7 countries. The reason for that and a host of other problems was the same as usual, Donald Trump. 
Last year, Trump came late to the summit and left early so by the time the Joint statement was prepared, the US President had not read a single word. In spite of this, he tweeted from Air force One that the US delegation would not be signing off on the statement because of some perceived slight from Host PM Trudeau. 
1. What goes on between China and Iran
Amidst the flip flop of Trump’s views, the status of China and Iran is getting not much clarification. Allegedly according to Trump, Chinese officials reached out to him by telephone and want him to start trade talks and stop American companies from pulling out of China. But considering how many calls China has allegedly placed to Trump and what has come off of them, the amount of salt needed has far outgrown a few pinches.
Trump has also flipped on Iran and said he is open to talks with President Rouhani. This comes hours after he threatened “a very violent response” against Iran. It seems the longer Trump is away from Fox and Friends, the less likely he is of launching a nuclear warhead at a hurricane to stop it.
2. The Climate Change discussion
Another important contribution by Trump was at the Climate Change discussion. The message, however, was not given by Trump but instead by his very noticeably empty chair at the table. At a time when the Amazon rainforests were facing the worst manmade forest fires and the internet was blowing up over the lungs of the earth being set alight, the Republican narrow-mindedness continues to haunt not just the US but the rest of the world as well.
3. The Friendly Banter between Prime Ministers
Meanwhile, both the Australian and UK Prime Ministers exchanged friendly competition over the results of the 3rd Ashes test. Most notably, PM Modi was the one to break the news to Boris Johnson during a bilateral talk about the amazing performance of Ben Stokes. PM Johnson then proceeded to watch the highlights during breaks. The friendly banter between Australian PM Morrison and PM Johnson was summed up neatly in the joke by Morrison, “Two to go, two to go”. Since the series is tied 1-1, both sides are looking forward to the upcoming tests.

4. The Modi Factor
Diplomatically speaking, the G7 summit has been a success for PM Modi. Topics ranged from Climate change to Trade agreements and aid in Africa. Modi led the discussions with Germany, France, UK and EU with regards to working against the use of single-use plastics. PM Modi has also managed to get Trump to say that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. It remains to be seen how long this stance is maintained by Trump. 
5. President Trump’s Empty Chair
Another important topic under consideration was somewhat like Trump's empty chair. It became important because there was absolutely no discussion on it. 
6. The Message to Pakistan
Pakistan has been trying to internationalize the abrogation of Article 370, but the fact that no nation has bothered to address this during any of the talks has made the writing on the wall well known. The message from the World leaders is crystal clear to Imran Khan. There is very little patience for listening to Pakistani posturing and grandstanding when there are more important issues like the Amazon fires, Climate change, Iran and even Brexit on the table. It seems that even the use of phrases like “nuclear neighbours” has not garnered the expected reactions from the world. Moreover, PM Modi’s visit seems to have had the opposite effect for the people who had criticized India for the 370 issues. 
7. UN Secretary General’s concern
UN Security General, Antonio Guterres had expressed concern and tried to bring up the Shimla agreement as a tool to ask India to not go ahead with the abrogation. However, that seemed to have changed at the G7 summit where he seemed to be of the view that the UN would not play a part in this as third part mediation would not take place. The photo session afterwards clearly showed that Modi had managed to change the Guterres mind regarding the issue. 

Overall the world may have not have achieved much from the entire summit, but it seems PM Modi has managed to still turn it into a successful trip diplomatically speaking. Next year perhaps, we will look upon this summit fondly because almost nothing was achieved this time. However, next year Donald Trump will be in full election mode during the summit and it would be interesting to see if there would be an empty chair or an enthusiastic Donald Trump making a statement. We can only pray that the next summit is just as uneventful as this one.

- Written by Nachiket Bhushan Kondhalkar

- Edited by Maitreyi Mehndiratta

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7 things that went down this G7 Summit 7 things that went down this G7 Summit Reviewed by EMN on August 27, 2019 Rating: 5

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