US President Joe Biden has tested negative for COVID-19 and will travel to India on Thursday to attend the G20 Summit during which he will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House said on Tuesday.
The announcement comes a day after First Lady Jill Biden, 72, tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Biden, 80, was tested for the virus on Monday and Tuesday following his wife’s positive test, but his results were negative.
“On Thursday, the President will travel to New Delhi to attend the G20 leader’s summit,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters at a White House news conference.
“On Friday, President Biden will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi” and on Saturday and Sunday, he will participate in the official sessions of the G20 summit, he said.
The NSA said as Biden “heads to the G20 summit, he is committed to working with emerging market partners to deliver big things together”.
“That’s what we believe the world will see in New Delhi this weekend. The United States’ commitment to the G-20 hasn’t wavered and we hope this G-20 summit will show that the world’s major economies can work together even in challenging times,” he said.
Sullivan said the focus of the US in the G20 summit “is going to be on delivering for developing countries, making progress on key priorities for the American people, from climate to technology and showing our commitment to the G20 as a forum that can actually deliver”.
“And thanks to the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and India’s presidency, we hope we’ll be able to do all of those things,” he said, praising Prime Minister Modi.
Earlier, responding to questions, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that there is no change in Biden’s travel plans and the president would be tested at regular intervals before his trip to India.
The president tested negative last night for COVID-19 and tested negative again on Tuesday.
“He’s not experiencing any symptoms as far as the steps that he is taking since the President was with the First Lady yesterday. He will be masking while indoors and around people in alignment with CDC guidance,” she said.
“And as has been the practice in the past, the President will remove his mask when sufficiently at a distance from others indoors and while outside as well. The CDC guidelines recommend a combination of masking testing and monitoring for symptoms. The President is doing all of that in current and close consultation with his physician,” she added.
Sullivan said Biden has worked to rebuild the American economy from the bottom up in the middle out by making smart investments in the industries of the future while tackling climate change and empowering workers. And those investments are paying off.
“We think countries around the world too, can benefit from a similar type of approach, and that we can help them as well by mobilising investment to support them in tackling the challenges that they face. And that’s one of our main focuses in the G20,” he said.
The US, he said, is also looking forward to warmly welcoming the African Union as a permanent member of the G20.
“We believe that the African Union’s voice will make the G20 stronger,” Sullivan said.
The NSA said another key focus of the US in the G20 will be on delivering on an agenda of fundamentally reshaping and scaling up the multilateral development banks, especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We know that these institutions are some of the most effective tools that we have for mobilising transparent, high-quality investment into developing countries,” he said.
That’s why, Sullivan said, the US has championed the major effort that is currently underway to evolve these institutions so that they are up to the challenges of today and tomorrow.
“Just last month, President Biden asked Congress for additional funds that would have the impact of increasing World Bank financing by more than USD25 billion. We are working to make sure that other partners follow our lead…we hope the G-20 endorses this level of ambition and delivers a broader vision of multilateral development banks that are better, bigger and more effective,” the NSA said.
President Biden will also be calling on G20 members as leaders in the global economy to provide meaningful debt relief so that low and middle income countries can regain their footing after years of extreme stress, he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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