In the backdrop of communal tension and violence in Gurugram, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said that it would like to see a “return to normalcy” as the National Capital Region prepares for the G20 summit for which the heads of governments of member countries have been invited.
The comment from the Official Spokesperson of the MEA, Arindam Bagchi, came hours after the U.S. State Department took note of the violence in Gurugram and Nuh, and urged for “calm”.
“I am sure you are aware of the measures that are being taken by the local authorities to put a stop to the violence there, to restore peace and normalcy. We would like to see a return to normalcy,” Mr. Bagchi said, expressing hope for a “very successful summit next month”. He also said that the authorities here had so far not briefed other G20 members on the situation in the National Capital Region.
The MEA, which is the nodal wing of the government for organising the G20 summit, is in the preparatory phase of the event, which will require large-scale logistical arrangements involving high security accommodation and transport facilities for visiting dignitaries.
The communal violence, which began in Nuh on July 31, spread to the heart of Gurugram. Mobs burned property, and attacked a place of worship, killing an imam on Tuesday. The tension has since spread to other parts of the National Capital Region, prompting many multinational companies to order their employees to work from home.
Apart from this, at least 25 protests, organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, were held in Delhi on Wednesday, and similar tension was witnessed in Noida as well. The violence has cast a shadow on the plans for the landmark G20 summit just a month ahead, even as international media highlighted the violence.
While the venue for all the meetings of G20 leaders, and the ceremonial banquet, will be held at the Bharat Mandapam inside Pragati Maidan, leaders and foreign delegations will be staying at various hotels in the National Capital Region, across Delhi, Noida, Gurugram and Aerocity. They have been contacted by the G20 Secretariat.
Officials said that rooms had been booked for the stay of G20 delegations, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, and other leaders. Apart from 20 members, including the European Union, India has nine “guest countries” (Bangladesh, Mauritius, Nigeria, Egypt, the Netherlands, Oman, Spain, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates). In addition, heads of multilateral agencies will also be present.
According to the working schedule prepared, G20 leaders and invitees will begin arriving in Delhi on September 8. On September 9, they will all be taken to Rajghat to pay their respects to Mahatma Gandhi. Given differences over the conflict in Ukraine, G20 meetings thus far have not seen a “family photograph”, but photos of all the leaders at Rajghat are expected to bolster India’s message for “dialogue and diplomacy”, even if there is no formal group photograph.
Mr. Bagchi announced that India will participate in the August 5 and 6 dialogue on the Ukraine crisis hosted by Saudi Arabia, even as India has refrained from condemning the so-called “special military operation” of Russia against Ukraine.
“India will participate in this event. Our participation is in consonance with our long-standing position that dialogue and diplomacy is the way forward,” Mr. Bagchi said.