PM leaves for G-8 meeting in Italy Tuesday | india | Hindustan Times
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PM leaves for G-8 meeting in Italy Tuesday

india Updated: Jul 06, 2009 15:12 IST

With the national budget being presented in parliament Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be heading for the Italian mountain town of L'Aquila on Tuesday to take part in discussions with leaders of the world's most powerful and industrialized nations who meet for their annual G-8 summit. The town was devastated by an earthquake just three months ago.

India is one of the five emerging economies or G-5, comprising China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, which have been specially invited for the G-8 summit meeting (July 8-10).

L'Aquila, founded in the 13th century and which has Renaissance history linked to it, was devastated 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 decided on L'Aquila - about 100 km from Rome - as an unlikely venue for an international summit to enable the rebuilding of the town of just 70,000 people at top speed and channel in billions of euros in funding.

The summit was earlier scheduled to be held 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 focus on international issues, including climate change, the global economic slowdown 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.