New Delhi decorated with flowers and Modi posters for G20

Indian capital has undergone major renovations as authorities prepare to welcome world leaders for the summit

Flowers are among the colourful decorations in New Delhi as Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to host the G20 Summit.  Reuters
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Roads have been renovated and pavements decorated with flowers and large posters of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as authorities in New Delhi prepare to welcome world leaders at the G20 Summit this weekend.

The Indian capital is to host the talks, with US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among the leaders set to arrive in the city.

The summit, held on September 9 and 10, will take place at Bharat Mandapam – a newly built sprawling international convention and exhibition centre that cost 270 million rupees ($3.2 million) – where visiting dignitaries are expected to discuss economic growth, green development and climate finance.

Mr Modi’s government also wants to use the event to emphasise India’s economic prosperity and present the country as a “Vishwaguru", or world leader. India currently holds the rotating G20 presidency.

Preparations in Delhi

The city, home to 22 million people, has undergone major improvements in preparation for the summit.

Roads have been cleaned, trees and plants manicured, and about 700,000 flower pots placed across the city. Flowers have also been spread across roundabouts, with police standing guard.

Boundary walls and road signs have been freshly repainted, while murals add a splash of colour to metro stations.

Historic monuments including Qutub Minar and the Red Fort have been illuminated, with streets adorned with colourful lights.

An 8.5-metre statue of Nataraja – the cosmic dancer form of Hindu god Shiva – has been installed at the entrance of the G20 summit venue.

Large stone statues of lions have been set up on streets and musical fountains constructed near the banks of the Yamuna River.

Parts of the city will be shut down from September 7 and a public holiday has been announced until September 10.

Government and private offices, education institutions, businesses and markets are to close for security reasons and to ease traffic.

Securing the summit

As many as 130,000 security personnel have been stationed on major roads and streets. Officers armed with sniper rifles have been sent to rooftops, while the authorities will also use anti-drone technology to maintain security.

Counter-terrorism guards, known as Black Cats, will be on standby during the summit. The forces have undergone intensive training in preparation for the event.

About 400 firefighters will also be on call and 20 trained dogs will be at the summit venue, as well as in neighbouring areas of New Delhi.

More than 50 jets will land at Delhi airport for the summit and the government has provided 20 bulletproof limousines to ferry leaders across the city.

Monkeys, Dogs and Dengue

To keep roaming monkeys from attacking visitors in the capital, authorities have put up life-size posters of grey langurs.

Some videos on social media have also shown stray dogs being captured.

An order by municipal authorities to clear Delhi of strays was recalled after criticism from animal rights activists.

Delhi continues to experience dry weather, with no monsoon rains in the city for weeks. The hot and humid weather has led to a sharp increase in cases of dengue fever and malaria.

Authorities have fumigated some neighbourhoods and conducted house inspections to curb the number of mosquitoes responsible for spreading the diseases.

'Hiding poverty'

Authorities have also put up sheets in an effort to obscure the city's most impoverished areas from view. Several areas have been demolished over the past several months.

The government has justified the operations by claiming the structures were illegal.

More than 4,000 homeless people living under bridges and on the side of roads were moved to shelter homes across the city, reports said.

In several areas, roadside stalls and makeshift shops have also been removed.

Updated: October 31, 2023, 10:13 AM