G8 Summit: Sticks and carrots for the bad boys of Asia

THE world's major powers last night sought to contain separate theatres of turmoil in South Asia, trying to brake the nuclear arms race on the Indian sub-continent and pleading for dialogue and reform to avert the worst in riot-torn Indonesia.

But, as the leaders of the G8 nations go into private talks on the global economy today,50,000 people descend on Birmingham to force them to change their agenda. The human chain, up to five deep, will ring the centre of the city as campaigners in a coalition of aid agencies and charities demand a one-off cancellation of Third World debt.

Clare Short, Secretary of State for International Development, will accept petitions with 1.5 million signatures of support and deliver them to Weston Hall, Shropshire, where the leaders will be holding secret talks.

Last night India seemed likely to escape further punishment beyond the sanctions already imposed by the US and international condemnation of its series of five nuclear tests this week. Will there be a G8 package of sanctions? "No," Tony Blair's spokesman said.

Earlier, President Bill Clinton, who has suspended aid, loans and credit guarantees to India, demanded "a clear and unambiguous message". But only Japan and Canada were inclined to go as far as Washington. Russia, India's traditional ally from Cold War days, opposed sanctions. France, like Britain, believes they will only make more distant the day when India signs up to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. At the same time, the G8 members - France, Germany, Italy, Canada, the US, Britain, Russia and Japan - leant heavily on Pakistan, where US officials were yesterday seeking to prevent retaliatory tests. But neither economic carrots nor the stick of sanctions seem likely to deflect Pakistan from tests of its own.

Hardly less worrying now, however, is the crisis in Indonesia. Catching the mood here, Mr Clinton appealed to the Indonesian government for restraint, and urged a speedy start on moves towards democracy. Giving the people a real voice, he said, "can make a real contribution to restoring political order and stability". The leaders also issued separate statements on Kosovo and the Middle East.

Though shorn of parallel meetings of finance and foreign ministers, the summit did offer the novelty of full participation for the first time by Russia. At yesterday's first European Union-Russia summit, attended by a comparatively well-looking President Boris Yeltsin, the EU formally endorsed Russia as a market economy, opening the way to closer economic ties.

Last night Cherie Blair, Hillary Clinton and four other wives of world leaders dined together at Birmingham's Left Bank cafe. Afterwards they saw the Royal Shakespeare Company perform "Behind the Throne", an entertainment about the lives of women who play the supporting role to powerful men.

Their husbands will spend today at Weston Park for a retreat which will focus on debt relief for the poorest countries, cross-border and computer crime, and securing employment in the new era of globalisation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn