The message has resonated with many locals, who are reluctant to undercut a moment of national pride.
“Delhi is good, everything is good,” Singh insists, even as he acknowledges his taxi business is way down on normal.
Atharv Gaikwad, a 26-year-old who works in medical manufacturing, says: “Before the G20 there were only some fields where India was well known.
“But the prime minister changed the perception of the world towards India. I think our prime minister has developed international relations, he has planned for the future of India.”
Gaikwad, like many Indians, remains unaware that the G20 is a rotational presidency. So successful has Modi been at marketing the summit, that many believe it has been won through his leadership alone.
For stallholders who live day-to-day, three days without work puts them right back on the poverty line, raising questions about the utility of an event that is now missing two of its most important players, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Xi’s decision to skip the summit for the first time since he came to power, without bothering to offer a reason why, has diminished the status of the event and undercut Modi’s message of global unity. Putin is absent for a second year running.
The G20 rose to prominence during the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, providing a crucial forum for the world’s biggest economies to co-ordinate stimulus packages and financial sector reforms.
The summit is now increasingly straining for relevance, as geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the South China Sea diminish opportunities for co-operation on economic and environmental issues.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres punctured the warm-and-fuzzy messaging as the summit got underway, telling reporters in New Delhi: “If we are indeed one global family, we today resemble a rather dysfunctional one.
“Divisions are growing, tensions are flaring up, and trust is eroding which together raise the spectre of fragmentation, and ultimately, confrontation.”
Russia and China are at odds with the other member nations over the war in Ukraine, raising doubts about whether a final joint statement can be agreed upon.
Albanese left no doubt where Australia stood on the issue in his opening intervention, saying a difficult past year had been “made all the more challenging, of course, by Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine, which I condemn in the strongest terms”.
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