Capital Delhi is spruced up, costing a whopping $120 million, to match the standard of the global body of wealthy nations
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (center) addresses the G20 Leaders' Summit at the Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on Sept. 9. (Photo: Ludovic Marin / POOL / AFP)
Catholic bishops in India have wished for a successful G20 summit in the country, expressing hope that it collectively addresses global challenges for the well-being of all people, especially the marginalized and vulnerable.
The bishops’ message came ahead of the Sept. 9-10 gathering of the 19 nations and the European Union in New Delhi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will play the host as the rotating presidency came on India’s way on Dec. 1, 2022, after Indonesia’s turn.
“I extend my best wishes to all participants in the G20 summit,” said Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), in a statement on Sept. 8.
More than 30 heads of state, including US President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, are scheduled to arrive on Sept. 9 for the summit hosted by India for the first time since the global body of wealthy nations was formed in 1999.
India’s theme for the presidency is “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (one earth, one family, one future), drawn from the ancient Hindu scriptures.
Invoking the ancient Sanskrit phrase, the bishops said that “the summit is an opportunity to manifest this universal truth through dialogue and collaboration.”
“Despite diversity, we are bound together as one family, sharing common challenges and responsibilities,” they noted.
The summit aims to build unanimity to collectively address global challenges like the clean energy transition, global health agenda, food security, and debt crisis.
Ahead of the summit, India hosted more than 200 events in over 50 cities across the country to showcase to G-20 working groups the nation’s culture and tradition in terms of food delicacy, diversity in language and heritage.
Archbishop Felix Machado, secretary general of the bishops’ conference, emphasized the ethical dimension of the summit.
"The decisions made at the G20 summit should prioritize the well-being of all people, especially the marginalized and vulnerable. It is our duty to ensure that economic progress is accompanied by social justice and inclusivity," the bishop said in the statement.
In an apparent bid to meet the standards of the G20, the government spent a whopping $120 million “to make New Delhi sparkle,” reported the Mint newspaper.
New Delhi's crowded streets have been controlled, streetlights have been illuminated, buildings and walls are painted with murals and graffiti and planted flowers are seen everywhere.
“The city’s poor were simply erased, much like the stray dogs and monkeys,” the daily quoted residents in Delhi as saying.
The bishops urged leaders to prioritize social and environmental sustainability for a better tomorrow.
The G20 nations account for almost two-thirds of the global population, 75 percent of global trade, and 85 percent of the global GDP. The admission of the African Union (AU) will be taken up at the 18th summit in New Delhi.
“It's indeed a great honor and privilege for India to host the G20 summit,” said Abraham Mathai, chairperson of Harmony Foundation, based in India’s financial capital Mumbai in western Maharashtra state.
“The time has come to demand that the guns be silenced and conflicts be resolved through dialogue,” Mathai, a former deputy chairperson of the minorities commission in Maharashtra, told UCA News on Sept. 8.
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