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UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday called for India’s help in mobilizing G20 countries to help debt-ridden developing countries.

India will take over the G20 presidency from Indonesia for a year from 1 December.

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India’s neighbors Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh have sought IMF loans in recent months as high oil prices make it difficult to recover from the economic hits of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Guterres told students and faculty at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, “We look forward to India’s help in mobilizing the G20 countries on debt relief. Many developing countries are facing a debt crisis. is, or is close to, requiring multilateral action, including the expansion and extension of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative.”

Launched in May 2020 during the pandemic, the initiative has allowed about 50 countries to suspend $12.9 billion in debt service payments by the end of last year.

Mr Guterres said climate change is “already a significant threat” to India’s economy, agriculture and food sectors, as well as the health, livelihoods and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.

“In parts of India, record heat waves, droughts and floods are already wreaking havoc.” ”

He said G20 countries account for 80% of global emissions and need to take the lead in reducing them. Rich countries should also financially help developing countries do so, he said.

Mr Guterres, who met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday, said:

Mr. Guterres also unequivocally condemned hate speech and called on states to protect the rights and freedoms of journalists, human rights activists, students and academics and to ensure judicial independence.

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