Snippets from UK: G7 Meet Begins with Covid Focus; India, Germany Put a Stamp on Ties

India a key figure at G7 summit: The G7 summit is under way formally from today. India, of course, is attending as a guest country along with Australia, South Africa and South Korea. All four countries are seen as critical partners of the G7 (the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, UK and Japan). The focus is one way and another the pandemic – through fighting for the recovery of health and also of economic health. On both fronts, India is a key player. India is set to manufacture and export more and more vaccines, but is first keen to be among the countries to get a chunk of the 500 million doses the US is distributing around the world. India will be critical also within the Indo-Pacific region priority.

Germany and India mark ties with new stamps: A new postage stamp has been released to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Germany. Both Germany and India are releasing stamps to mark the occasion. The Indian stamp was released on Thursday this week by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, with Vineet Pandey, Secretary, Posts and Walter Lindner, German Ambassador to India. Shringla spoke about the longstanding collaboration in health, research and development, and higher education.

Indian music and meditation event in Paris: An invitation to Indian music and meditation being offered in Paris later this month could hardly have been more timely. Akshay Bakaya, professor of India at Sorbonne University in Paris, will conduct a Stage de Hindi from June 28. That should be a happy antidote to perceptions of India currently as the origin of the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, which has also found its way to France. It’s a ticketed event, but this could be a ticket to some peace and calm.

All talk not much headway in extradition tangle: We now have further assurance from the Indian government, that they have an assurance from the UK government that it is doing all it can to extradite wanted persons to India at the earliest – principally Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. Such statements have by now become repeat rituals. The Indian government say they have taken it up with the British, who say they have taken note but that the matter is in the courts. Movement in both cases will now have to come from the courts, not from government officials.

Delta strain may delay lockdown lifting: British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that 91 per cent of the Covid cases in Britain now are of the Delta variant, said to be 40 per cent more transmissible than the Kent variant, which was 60 per cent more transmissible than the one earlier. With more than 7,000 cases surfacing again in a day on Thursday, that would seem to rule out a complete lifting of the lockdown due on June 21. To British Indians as much as anyone else, that means a delay to expected freedom. But to them it brings also the threat of facing a new round of hostility over the spread of a virus variant still seen widely as Indian.

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