Rishi Sunak’s Visit to Hindu Temple and G20 Summit in India
Prime Minister’s Visit to Akshardham Temple
On their final day in India for the G20 summit, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, visited the Akshardham temple in New Delhi. Both practicing Hindus, they engaged in Sanskrit singing and made prayer offerings at the 100-acre holy site. This visit preceded the final session of the G20 summit, where global leaders would focus on transformative technologies.
Symbolic Stop at Raj Ghat Memorial
Following their temple visit, the couple joined other G20 leaders at the Raj Ghat memorial in New Delhi, with one of the memorials dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, India’s independence leader. Rishi Sunak, who has Indian heritage, has spoken about his pride in Hinduism and his desire to visit a mandir during this inaugural trip to India as Prime Minister.
Personal Homecoming for Akshata Murty
For Akshata Murty, born in the southern state of Karnataka, this trip to India has been a homecoming of sorts. She and Rishi Sunak met at Stanford University in the United States, married in a lavish ceremony in Bengaluru, India, in 2009, and lived there for the subsequent four years.
UK’s Climate Change Fund Contribution
In the lead-up to the final G20 session, Rishi Sunak announced the UK’s record contribution to an international climate change fund, responding to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for increased financing to support developing nations affected by climate change. The UK pledged two billion US dollars (£1.6 billion) to the Green Climate Fund for 2024-27, marking the largest single funding commitment to combat climate change.
Trade Deal Negotiations and International Agreements
Amidst discussions on the potential UK-India free trade deal, Rishi Sunak and his Indian counterpart addressed the topic during the summit. While expressing optimism about overcoming negotiation hurdles, the two countries are actively exploring trade possibilities.
G20 Agreement and Ukraine Situation
During the G20 summit, India achieved a joint agreement with all 20 of the world’s top economies, issuing a statement concerning the situation in Ukraine. Rishi Sunak praised the strong message delivered under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, particularly highlighting the Kremlin’s blockade of Ukrainian grain.
Criticism Regarding G20 Statement on Ukraine
However, Ukraine expressed disappointment with the G20 communique. Russia and China objected to language that they had previously agreed upon at the Bali G20 summit, when Moscow’s aggression was cited. The final statement this year acknowledged the human suffering and negative impacts of the war in Ukraine but did not mention Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Putin’s Absence and International Isolation
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend the Indian summit, prompting Prime Minister Sunak to assert that his absence demonstrated Putin’s isolation on the world stage.