A two-day summit of the G20, the world's twenty most powerful economies, has started in India today. The leaders of the countries personally came to the event, except Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the BBC reports.
Indian PM Narendra Modi made the opening remarks, meeting his colleagues in person. He began by expressing condolences over the earthquake in Morocco, which killed about 300 people.
The summit is taking place in India's largest business complex, Bharat Mandapam, in New Delhi.
At the summit, Modi invited the African Union to become a permanent member of the group.
"I believe that the inclusion of the African Union will get the support of everyone," Modi said, inviting the bloc's chairman, President Azali Assoumani of the Comoros, to address the delegates.
If the African Union joins the G20, it will have the same rights as the EU. The African Union consists of 55 member states. It was invited to participate in the summit by the host country, India.
The slogan of this year's event: "One Land, One Family, One Future."
"The 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi will be the culmination of all the G20 processes and meetings held throughout the year between ministers, senior officials and civil society. The G20 Summit will conclude with the adoption of the G20 Leaders' Declaration, which will set out the leaders' commitments to the priorities discussed and agreed upon during the relevant ministerial and working group meetings," the event website said.
Ukraine was not invited to the summit, although it provides for the participation of non-G20 countries. The country's Foreign Ministry explained this by saying that the G20 is concerned with growth and development, not conflict resolution, that should take place in the UN Security Council, as India considers.
Like last year, Putin skipped the summit and sent Foreign Minister Lavrov instead. The Chinese leader decided not to attend the summit because of uncertain relations with India.
Unlike this year's summit, in 2022, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy participated in the event via video. He presented proposals for a just end to the war.