Indian PM Modi to skip G7 meet in Britain due to COVID-19 crisis

Modi has been criticised for allowing huge gatherings at a religious festival

  
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering before flagging off the "Dandi March", or Salt March, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India's Independence, in Ahmedabad, India, March 12, 2021.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering before flagging off the "Dandi March", or Salt March, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India's Independence, in Ahmedabad, India, March 12, 2021.

REUTERS/Amit Dave

MUMBAI- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not travel to Britain for the Group of Seven (G7) summit next month because of the coronavirus situation in the country, the foreign ministry said late on Tuesday.

"While appreciating the invitation to the Prime Minister by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend the G7 Summit as a Special Invitee, given the prevailing COVID situation, it has been decided that the Prime Minister will not attend the G7 Summit in person," the ministry said in a statement.

Modi has been criticised for allowing huge gatherings at a religious festival and holding large election rallies during the past two months even as cases surged.

India's The seven-day average of daily infections hit a record 390,995 on Tuesday, with 3,876 deaths, according to the health ministry. 

Official COVID-19 deaths, which experts say are almost certainly under-reported, stand at just under a quarter of a million.

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to join other leaders at a G7 summit chaired by Britain's Johnson in Cornwall, southwestern England, on June 11-13.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Alex Richardson) ((shilpa.jamkhandikar@thomsonreuters.com;))

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