US President Donald Trump feels G7 is an ‘outdated group of countries’.(REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump feels G7 is an ‘outdated group of countries’.(REUTERS)

Trump calls for expanding G-7 to include India, 3 others; postpones next meet

It was not immediately clear if he wanted to invite the four countries to the attend meet as host countries have done in the past, or he is talking about an expanded group with these additional members.
Hindustan Times, Washington | By Yashwant Raj
UPDATED ON JUN 01, 2020 12:33 AM IST

President Donald Trump on Saturday called for expanding the G-7, which he described as a “very outdated group”, to include India, Australia, South Korea and Russia, suggesting it could be called the “G-10 or G-11”. He also said he is postponing its next meet, which the US is hosting, to September or November,.

“I’m postponing it because I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One on the way back from the historic launch of the first manned mission into space by a private company, SpaceX. “It’s a very outdated group of countries.”

“We want Australia, we want India, we want South Korea. And what do we have? That’s a nice group of countries right there,” he said, skipping Russia. But he appeared to have suggested inviting Russia as well, according to a report from a pool of reporters that traveled with him.

The president went on to describe the expanded group as the “G-10 or G-11”, and added, he had “roughly” discussed the idea with the leaders of the four countries he’d like to add.

The Group of Seven, as the G-7 expands to, is an intergovernmental organization of some of the world’s largest economies, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. India is a member of the larger version of the body that is called the G-20.

An aide to the president said the plan is to bring together all traditional allies to discuss how to deal with the future of China.

Trump has called before for Russia to be readmitted to the group, arguing, as he did before the 2019 summit in Biarritz, “because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia”. But this is probably the first time any of the G-7 member countries has called for including India or the other three named by Trump.

The US president had pressed the G-7 heads of state and government at a dinner during the Biarritz summit to readmit Russia. Only Italy had backed him, according to The Guardian. Japan was neutral. France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada had pushed back forcefully.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the Biarritz at the invitation of the host, French President Emmanuel Macro. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had attended a meeting of the body in Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005 at the invitation of then British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The group was then called the G-8 with Russia as the eighth member. Russia was expelled by the group in 2014 for annexing Crimea.

There was no clarity on the timing of the summit though. The American leader suggested it could take place in the weekend before or after the annual UN General Assembly meetings, which are scheduled to start on September 15 and end on September 22.

But Trump indicated he was toying with other options as well. “Maybe I’ll do it after the election.,” he said. “Think a good time would be before the election.” US elections are due in November and he is running for a second term.

“So it might be a G10, G11, and it could be after the election is over,” he added, leaving the question of dates wide open at the time.

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