Bali: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had just one formal meeting with another leader on the first day of the G20 summit here, but does a trilateral handshake also count? The External Affairs Ministry released a brief statement on the meeting between Modi and US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit that began here on Tuesday.
But the ministry and the Prime Minister's Office posted several photos online of interactions between Modi and other leaders at the Summit venue, where they began by discussing Food and Energy Security.
The Group of 20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the USA and the European Union.
"Multilateral summits present wonderful opportunities for leaders to exchange views on diverse issues," the PMO tweeted, and the MEA retweeted.
Among others, it posted a picture of Modi with Britain's new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with whom the Prime Minister is "looking forward to working together in the times to come".
Another showed Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte placing a hand on Modi’s shoulder. The Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is also the African Union head, featured in another.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is the summit host, Modi, who will host next year’s summit, and Joe Biden were placed next to each other at the summit table. The seating order is usually alphabetic at G20 summits, though not always by the Roman script.
They also posed against the backdrop of the G20 logo. The photo shows a three-way handshake – a move attempted sometimes when leaders summit with one another.
It is an awkward manoeuvre at times. For reference, watch old videos of then US president Barack Obama, Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto and Canada’s Justin Trudeau making a cringeworthy moment out of it.
In the Bali photo, Modi is at the centre holding the hands of the American and the Indonesian presidents. The three make it look effortless, even if there is no buzz about it -- unlike the handshake, hours later, between Modi and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Modi wore the usual kurta and pajama/churidar, paired with a check waistcoat at the summit sessions.
In the evening, for the welcome dinner at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park, almost all leaders – Modi included - wore Batik shirts and brown trousers.
Black limousines ferried them, one leader at a time, to the venue. They ate as performers put on a show.
And towards the end, there was the Modi-Xi handshake. It came amid the strained India-China relations over the 2020 Galwan Valley clash.
But the two seasoned leaders exhibited no awkwardness, even if the exchange may not indicate a return to normalcy between the two countries.
The handshake happened in a relaxed setting, which included cultural performances and a laser show. The Indonesian president made brief remarks.
“Please enjoy the dishes we have prepared for you. I hope it’s not too spicy for your Excellencies,” he said.