By Yashwant Raj
Washington, Sep 6 (IANS) US President Joe Biden will focus on “fundamentally reshaping and scaling up the multilateral development banks” during his upcoming visit this week to New Delhi for the G20 leaders’ meeting, the White House said.
Biden’s other priorities for the summit will include debt relief for countries, climate, health, digital technology, including commitments with respect to a more inclusive digital transformation and a responsible path and approach to Artificial intelligence development.
The US President’s plans have not changed because of wife, First Lady Jill Biden, testing positive for Covid-19. He has tested negative but due to possible exposure to the virus he will be undertaking the usual precautions mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such as wearing masks in public places and around people.
Biden will leave for New Delhi on Thursday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday at a news briefing to preview the visit.
Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a bilateral meeting on Friday and then the US President will attend G20 meetings on Saturday and Sunday.
This will be Biden’s first visit to India as President. He went there last in 2013 as Vice-President.
“Delivering on an agenda fundamentally reshaping and scaling up the multilateral development bank’s, especially the World Bank and the IMF (the International Monetary Fund)” will be one of the main focuses of the US President, Sullivan said.
He added: “We know that these institutions are some of the most effective tools that we have for mobilising transparent, high quality investment into developing countries. And that’s why the US is championing the major effort that is currently underway to evolve these institutions so that they are up to the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
Nominating Indian-American Ajay Banga to head the World Bank was a part of these efforts, the Biden administration has said before.
Pointing to expanded US funding of the World Bank by $25 billion, per a request to US Congress from the Biden administration, the US National Security Adviser said the US expects other partner countries to follow its lead.
“We’ve been leading this effort that we hope will see the G20 endorsed this level of ambition and deliver a broader vision of multilateral development banks that are better, bigger and more effective.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will also be on the table.
“We know that there’ll be continued focus on how the G20 deals with Russia’s illegal and ongoing war in Ukraine. The reality is that Russia’s illegal war has had devastating social and economic consequences. And the poorest countries on the planet are bearing the brunt of that. As he has done before, President Biden will call for a just and durable peace, one founded in respect for international law, principles of the UN Charter, the precepts of territorial integrity and sovereignty, and he will continue to emphasise that the US will support Ukraine for as long as it takes to redeem these principles.”