A Personal Touch By PM, Gala Dinner: India’s Preparations For G20 Summit

Mr Pardeshi said nearly 10,000 people will be at Bharat Mandapam on Saturday and Sunday.

New Delhi:

Adding a personal touch to the prestigious G20 Summit this weekend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be welcoming the leaders of all countries individually at the venue, where he will also host a working lunch for them on Saturday. 

Two sessions are scheduled to be held at Bharat Mandapam, the revamped India Trade Promotion Organisation complex at Pragati Maidan, on Saturday and PM Modi will reach the venue at 9 am. 

These details were given by Muktesh Pardeshi, who is a special secretary (operations) of the G20 and is heading the operations and logistics for the summit, in an exclusive interview with NDTV. 

Numbers Game

Mr Pardeshi said there will be 40-plus delegations headed by presidents, prime ministers and, in some cases, their foreign ministers as well as international organisations led by their secretary generals or executive directors. 

Each delegation will have 150-200 people on average. Adding security personnel, media representatives, people involved in catering and others would mean that nearly 10,000 people will be at Bharat Mandapam on Saturday and Sunday, he said.

India Bilaterals

Mr Pardeshi said, as the host nation, India has received many requests for bilateral meetings, but PM Modi will also be chairing the sessions during the summit. He will receive the leaders individually on Saturday and reach the venue at 9 am.

On the venue for the bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden, he said it will depend on the date and time. 

Big Dinner

“A world-class convention centre has been set up in the form of Bharat Mandapam. The building has four levels. On the first level, you have the G20 Summit hall, where the main meeting will take place. The other officials will be seated in the viewing room, where they will have a live feed,” said Mr Pardeshi.

“The gala dinner hosted by the President will take place at the multi-function hall, which has a huge capacity, There will be a short cultural programme accompanying the gala dinner,” he added.

Over 20 meeting rooms have been set aside for bilaterals and, based on the requests that are being received, a team headed by a joint secretary is making conferencing and other arrangements. 

Experiencing UPI

The G20 special secretary said digital experience zones are being created at Bharat Mandapam so that visiting leaders, delegates, ministers and media personnel can understand the progress India has made in the digital sector.

He said India is very strong in the creation of digital public infrastructure like Aadhaar, CoWIN and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and the “developing south would like to learn from the Indian experience how technological transformation can enable socio-economic transformation in a country”. 

To ensure that the delegations can try out UPI, the Reserve Bank of India is setting up special zones where they can do so without being registered for it. 

“Opportunity, Not Nightmare”

On whether making the arrangements has been a logistical challenge or a nightmare, the G20 special secretary said, “I would say it is a logistical opportunity. One key takeaway from the G20 Summit should be that the country is prepared organisationally to host many more mega events, including the Olympics. We don’t take it as a nightmare. It is an opportunity indeed.”

He said sufficient space for parking of special aircraft has been made at the Parliament technical area and Terminal 3.

“Take A Long Weekend”

Asked about his message to the people of Delhi, Mr Pardeshi said a three-day holiday has been declared from 8-10 September, with Saturday and Sunday being off days anyway.

“You have to understand 8th will be the arrival day and there will be so many convoys coming from the airport. For the Delhi Police, it will be a challenge to manage the traffic. Incoming flights will also be affected. I understand it is a difficult situation but it will be good if people can stay back, or take a long weekend and go to the mountains close by,” he said.

Hotel Bookings

Mr Pardeshi said that, as the host nation, India is the facilitator and not a provider of accommodation. He said enough rooms have been blocked and the list has been shared with the embassies. “Hotels are in close touch with the embassies and, by now, they must have understood the dietary requirements of the delegations,” he added.

Receiving The Dignitaries

On who will receive US President Joe Biden and other leaders, Mr Pardeshi refused to go into specifics and said there is a protocol in place. He said how the leaders are received depends on the timing of their arrival. High-ranking officials from the Ministry of External Affairs will be present and the presence of ministers will depend on a variety of factors.

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