Hey Joe! Rishi Sunak jokes with US president Biden as world leaders talk Ukraine, climate change and inflation at G20 in India

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  • Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden seen sharing a laugh ahead of talks starting today
  • READ MORE: Rishi Sunak says he is India’s ‘son-in-law’ as he arrives for G20

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been seen joking with US President Joe Biden at the G20 summit in India – as world leaders knuckle down to discuss burning issues including Ukraine, climate change and high global inflation.

Mr Sunak, 43, and 80-year-old Mr Biden could be seen sharing a laugh as they sat at their respective chairs ahead of the first day of talks in New Delhi, which brings together global powers to hash out problems plaguing the world today.

The summit, taking place today and tomorrow, has a theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ and Ukraine is expected to take centre stage during the discussions.

While Russia is a member of the G20 – whose ranks also include Japan, China, Canada and the European Union – its premier Vladimir Putin is not attending the India summit.

He has sent foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in his stead, a move unlikely to impress those seeking a resolution to the 18-month-long conflict.

Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden share a laugh at the G20 summit in New Delhi

Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden share a laugh at the G20 summit in New Delhi 

The pair exchange a look as they settle in ahead of the first day of talks in India

The pair exchange a look as they settle in ahead of the first day of talks in India

Mr Sunak and Mr Biden are among the global leaders hashing out issues such as Ukraine, global inflation and third-world debt

Mr Sunak and Mr Biden are among the global leaders hashing out issues such as Ukraine, global inflation and third-world debt

World leaders are gathering in New Delhi, Delhi, as part of the annual global summit, whose members include the UK, US, Russia, China and the European Union

World leaders are gathering in New Delhi, Delhi, as part of the annual global summit, whose members include the UK, US, Russia, China and the European Union

However, the issue of Ukraine itself has split nations at the global summit, as issues such as climate change, infrastructure and third-world debt vie for attention.

India has avoided blaming Moscow for the invasion of the country, instead calling for solutions through dialogue and diplomacy.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who appeared as a guest at last year’s G20 summit in Indonesia, was not invited to the Indian round-table.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty shows off some fancy footwork before heading out for dinner with PM after fourth outfit change of the day as she wows India ahead of G20 summit 

The PM's wife Akshata Murty showed off some fancy footwork with some local schoolchildren during a visit to the British Council in New Delhi

The PM’s wife Akshata Murty showed off some fancy footwork with some local schoolchildren during a visit to the British Council in New Delhi

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Last year’s summit saw a joint statement issued condemning the invasion – but added that ‘there were other views’ on Russia’s incursion.

Mr Lavrov has threatened to block the joint leaders’ statement if it does not reflect Russia’s views on Ukraine. 

Russia has been criticised for pulling out of a UN and Turkey-mediated deal that was meant to ensure Ukrainian grain could safely pass through the Black Sea.

In a statement issued ahead of the G20 summit, Mr Sunak hit out at the Russian president’s failure to appear in India.

He said: ‘Once again, Vladimir Putin is failing to show his face at the G20. He is the architect of his own diplomatic exile, isolating himself in his presidential palace and blocking out criticism and reality.

‘The rest of the G20, meanwhile, are demonstrating that we will turn up and work together to pick up the pieces of Putin’s destruction.

‘That starts with dealing with the terrible global consequences of Putin’s stranglehold over the most fundamental resources, including his blockade of and attacks on Ukrainian grain.’

The PM’s official spokesperson said he was preparing to speak at Saturday’s session about the response to the conflict in Ukraine, climate change and reducing inflation in the global economy.

After the session, he will meet with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi for bilateral discussions.

They are expected to discuss the negotiations on a UK-India free trade agreement.

The two-day summit is taking place at a new, $300 million conch-shaped convention centre called Bharat Mandapam, opposite a 16th-century stone fort.

Businesses, shops, offices and schools have been closed in Delhi, a city of 20 million, and traffic restricted as part of security measures to ensure the smooth running of the most high-powered meeting to be hosted by the country. 

Slums have been demolished and monkeys and stray dogs removed from the streets.

Joe Biden smiles as he touches down in India on Friday night

Joe Biden smiles as he touches down in India on Friday night

Vladimir Putin at a monastery in Nizhny Novgorod in western Russia on Friday. The Russian president is not attending the G20 summit

Vladimir Putin at a monastery in Nizhny Novgorod in western Russia on Friday. The Russian president is not attending the G20 summit

Rishi Sunak speaking to journalists on his plane into New Delhi earlier this week. He has insisted he is 'fired up' and ready to win the next general election

Rishi Sunak speaking to journalists on his plane into New Delhi earlier this week. He has insisted he is ‘fired up’ and ready to win the next general election

The Prime Minister arriving in Delhi with his wife Akshata Murty. Mr Sunak told journalists he was 'hungry to win'

The Prime Minister arriving in Delhi with his wife Akshata Murty. Mr Sunak told journalists he was ‘hungry to win’

Mr Sunak, meanwhile, has told reporters he is ‘fired up’ to fight the next general election at home, amid murmurs from fellow Tories that defeat is inevitable at the ballot box.

Labour has maintained a consistent double-digit lead over the Conservatives, worsened by recent scandals including the school concrete crisis.

As he arrived in India with his wife, Akshata Murty, Mr Sunak said: ‘We’ve got plenty of time between now and the next election. I’m not complacent, there’s lots of work to do but I’m entirely confident we can deliver for people.

‘And I can tell you – certainly in Downing Street, we are fired up.’

Mr Sunak’s parents, and his in-laws, are on holiday elsewhere in India – vacationing in Bangalore in the south, some 1,300 miles away.

A Downing Street source told the PA news agency: ‘They are down in Bangalore and his parents are with them. They (the Murtys) are not here. It is nothing to do with the G20.’

Indian PM Modi has taken the opportunity to address the summit as the leader of ‘Bharat’ – an ancient Sanskrit name for the country, which has been interpreted as a signal that the country could shake off one of its final links to its conquest by the British.

Members of his Hindu nationalist party have previously campaigned against using the name ‘India’ which has roots in Western antiquity.

His government has worked to remove any lingering symbols of British rule from the country’s urban landscape, political institutions and history books.

Saturday also saw the African Union – an EU-style bloc of 55 African nations – granted granted permanent member status in the G20.




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