PM Modi meets Meloni, Pope: Key takeaways from G7 summit in Italy

Modi invites Pope Francis to India

Narendra Modi at G7 summit in Italy Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, greets Pope Francis during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7 | AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni at the G7 Outreach summit in Italy on Friday. Both leaders greeted each other with a folded hand gesture or namaste.

The summit is being held at the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia in Italy's Apulia region. Earlier in his departure statement, Modi said he was "glad" that his first foreign visit in his third term as Prime Minister was to Italy for the G7 Summit.

"I warmly recall my visit to Italy for the G20 Summit in 2021. Prime Minister Meloni's two visits to India last year were instrumental in infusing momentum and depth into our bilateral agenda. We remain committed to consolidating the India-Italy strategic partnership, and bolster cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the Mediterranean regions," his statement said.

Meloni, in her opening address at the G7 summit, said that southern Italy was chosen as the venue signalling a strong message to the Global South.

"It is no coincidence that we are hosting the summit in Apulia. We did this because Apulia is a region of southern Italy and the message we want to launch is that the G7, under the Italian presidency, wishes to strengthen its dialogue with the nations of the Global South," she said.

On the sidelines of the summit, Modi met and held bilateral talks with world leaders including France’s Emmanuel Macron, UK’s Rishi Sunak and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Also Read | G7 summit in Italy: PM Modi holds bilateral talks with Zelenskyy, Macron and Sunak

PM Modi also embraced Pope Francis at the summit. Earlier Modi had met Pope Francis during a private audience at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican in October 2021. Then both leaders talked about the COVID-19 pandemic and its spread across the world affecting millions. Modi had also briefed about the vaccination efforts taken by the nation to prevent the spread as well.

This time, Modi invited Pope Francis to India.

PM Modi's G7 Outreach session

At the G7 Outreach session, PM Modi called for ending the monopoly in technology. He also added that the countries of the Global South are bearing the brunt of global uncertainties and tensions.

"India has considered it its responsibility to put priorities and concerns of countries of the Global South on the world stage," he said.

"In these efforts, we have given high priority to Africa. We are proud that the G-20, under the chairmanship of India, made the African Union a permanent member," he added. Modi assured that India will continue to contribute to the economic and social development, stability and security of all the countries of Africa.

PM Modi also stressed that India has always stressed the importance of international governance in the field of AI. "We must make technology creative, not destructive. Only then will we be able to lay the foundation of an inclusive society. India is striving for a better future through this human-centric approach," he said.

Modi said India is among the first few countries to formulate a national strategy on artificial intelligence.

"Based on this strategy, we have launched the AI Mission this year. Its basic mantra is 'AI for All'. As a founding member and lead chair of the global partnership for AI, we are promoting cooperation among all countries," he said.

Pope Francis at G7 summit

Pope Francis on Friday became the first pontiff to address the G7 summit, warning the world leaders that humans must not lose control of AI. The pope said AI represented an "epochal transformation" for mankind. He also emphasised the necessity of closely monitoring the continually advancing technology to protect human life and dignity.

"No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being...We would condemn humanity to a future without hope if we took away people's ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives, by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines" the Pope was quoted by Reuters.

The Pope was greeted by several world leaders including Argentine President Javier Milei, Jordan's King Abdullah, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the US President Joe Biden.

During his speech, he said, "It is up to everyone to make good use of (AI) but the onus is on politics to create the conditions for such good use to be possible and fruitful."

Pope also highlighted AI's potential to take on labour-intensive tasks and the threat to scientific research. "It does not develop new analyses or concepts but repeats those that it finds," he said.

Keys points in the G7 draft statement

1. According to a draft statement, the G7 leaders are committed to upgrading national climate plans

2. G7 leaders to agree to contribute to a 75% cut in global methane emissions from fossil fuels by 2030

3. G7 leaders say public investments in gas can be an appropriate temporary response during the phase-out from dependency on Russian energy

4. G7 leaders also agree to speed up action this decade to transition away from fossil fuels

5. G7 leaders to agree to phase out CO2-emitting coal power generation in first half of 2030s

6. G7 to agree to be leading contributors to new UN global climate finance goal

7. G7 vows action against ‘unfair’ China business practices

8. G7 leaders urge external actors to refrain from fuelling the conflict in Sudan

9. Transfer of ballistic missiles from Iran to Russia would represent a substantive material escalation and direct threat to European security

The G7 comprises countries: the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada and Japan. India has been invited as an Outreach country to the summit. 

(With agenices inputs)

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