World leaders paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi by walking barefoot through puddles at his cremation site in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with leaders such as US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and French President Emmanuel Macron, removed their socks and shoes as a mark of respect. After a Hindu devotional hymn, they observed a moment of silence and laid wreaths at the memorial. The relationship between Modi’s Hindu nationalist ruling party and Gandhi, who was killed by a Hindu nationalist ideologue, remains ambivalent. The Raj Ghat memorial complex where Gandhi was cremated is a significant place in the capital city, and over a million people accompanied his body there after his assassination. The leaders also visited Sabarmati Ashram, a former residence of Gandhi in Modi’s home state of Gujarat. Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, is revered by right-wing activists who believe Gandhi failed to prevent the partition of India into India and Pakistan. Modi has never explicitly condemned Godse or his ideology. The G20 summit is crucial for Modi as he seeks to enhance his image internationally ahead of national elections next year. Biden will conclude the summit with a state visit to Vietnam.

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