NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will attend the Group of 20 (G20) Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi, India from Friday (Sept 8) to Sunday, when global leaders at the annual meeting are expected to discuss a wide agenda ranging from the importance of rules-based multilateralism to sustainable development.
Mr Lee is attending the summit at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India’s capacity as the 2023 G20 chair, Singapore’s Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement on Friday.
He will be accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister in the PMO and Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah, as well as officials from their ministries.
“Prime Minister Lee will participate in discussions on the importance of rules-based multilateralism, digital public infrastructure, health, energy transitions and sustainable development,” PMO said.
Mr Lee will also have bilateral meetings with other leaders on the sidelines of the summit, the statement added.
During Mr Lee’s absence, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong will be the Acting Prime Minister.
The G20 comprises 19 major advanced and emerging economies, and the European Union. The first G20 summit was convened in 2008 and held in the United States.
Singapore is not a member of the G20 but has frequently been invited to participate in the grouping’s summits and its related meetings from 2010. Mr Lee previously attended the G20 summit last November, which was held in Bali, Indonesia.
Aside from Singapore, India has also invited Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Spain and the United Arab Emirates to attend this year’s summit.
This year’s meeting is given the theme One Earth, One Family, One Future, and is held against the backdrop of continued geopolitical volatility and escalating tensions between the US and China, as well as the war between Russia and Ukraine that has dragged on for about a year and a half.
US President Joe Biden has confirmed his attendance for this summit. He was notably absent at the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit held in Jakarta, Indonesia earlier in the week, which Mr Lee had attended.
China’s delegation will be led by its premier Li Qiang, effectively indicating that President Xi Jinping will not be attending, according to Reuters. Mr Xi was also absent from the Asean Summit.
Mr Xi’s likely absence in India will dash hopes for a meeting between him and Mr Biden, and will be the first time a Chinese president is missing the G20 Leaders’ summit since its inaugural meet in 2008.
Another key G20 figure likely to be absent is Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will be attending in his stead.