There may be at least two major absentees at the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi next week, with Russian President Vladimir Putin having already confirmed his absence and Chinese President Xi Jinping, too, set to skip, official sources have said.

Jinping’s decision not to attend the summit has not been officially confirmed yet by the government, although sources tracking the development have indicated that the Chinese President was absenting himself and instead deputing Premier Li Qiang for the same.

Of the sixteen times that the G20 Summit has been hosted physically since 2008, about seven summits have witnessed the absence of two heads of state or more, six times there has been just one absentee, while three consecutive summits at the beginning saw all heads attending, per official data.

Putin, in a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, earlier this week, formally informed that he would not be able to attend the G20 Leaders Summit in Delhi on September 9-10 and that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would take his place.

Since Russia waged war on Ukraine early last year, Putin has mostly been absent from international meetings, including last year’s G20 Summit hosted by Indonesia in Bali and the recent BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.

‘No official word’

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also unlikely to attend the G20 Summit in Delhi, sources said, although there has been no official confirmation of this either from the Indian or Chinese side yet.

“Xi attended last year’s G20 Summit in Bali as well as the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg last month. The fact that he has not likely to attend the G20 Summit in New Delhi is a bit surprising,” a source told businessline.

The G20, an intergovernmental grouping of major economies of the world, includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

In the first three summits hosted in 2008 and 2009 (there were two in 2009), all heads of state attended. In the summits hosted in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017, one head of state could not attend and was represented by a deputy. There were five summits in 2010, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, when two countries were represented below the head of the state level.

In last year’s G20 Summit hosted after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, heads of state from three countries, including Russia and Brazil, did not attend while the previous year, when the world was just emerging out of Covid-19 lockdown, as many as six heads of state were absent.