G-8 Summit: Manmohan Leaves for Italy Tomorrow

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be leaving for the Italian mountain town of L’Aquila on Tuesday to participate in discussions with leaders of G-8 nations. The Italian town selected for conducting G-8 summit was devastated by a powerful earth quake just three months ago.

It maybe mentioned that India is among five up-and-coming economies or G-5 comprising China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, invited specially for the G-8 summit to be held from July 8 to 10.

Founded in the 13th century and having Renaissance history linked to it, L’Aquila was demolished by an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude on the Richter scale which left over 300 killed, 1,500 injured and over 60,000 homeless.

The Italian government chose the town, some 100 km from Rome, for the international summit with a view to channel in billions of euros in funding and thus enable pacy rebuilding and reconstruction of L’Aquila, where 70, 000 people live.

Earlier, the summit was slated to be organised at an idyllic island off the coast of Sardinia but was shifted to L’Aquila by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berloscuni as a demonstration of global solidarity with the earthquake victims.

The summit is being hosted by Italy as it has the presidency of the G-8 this time.

The summit will concentrate on international issues such as climate change, the global economic recession for which the G-20 meeting of the world’s most developed and emerging economies was held in London April this year, the changes in Iran, the Af-Pak crisis and North Korean threat.

A lot of bilateral meetings are held on the sidelines of such summits. Manmohan Singh will meet with US President Barack Obama, for whom this will be the first G8 summit meeting. Both leaders had met for the first time on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in London.

He will also meet Chinese President Hu Jintao for the second time in a month, the two having met at Yekaterinburg in Russia on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

The G-8, founded in 1975, comprises the world’s most industrialized and wealthy states – US, Britain, Canada, Japan, Italy, Germany, France and Russia.

Manmohan Singh will return to New Delhi July 10.

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