India, Commonwealth discuss global meltdown

October 21st, 2008 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) With global financial crisis having ripple effects the world over, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma Tuesday discussed with Indian leaders ways to cushion developing countries from the adverse fallout of the meltdown.The global financial meltdown figured in discussions Sharma had with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. It also came up prominently in his discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday, official sources said.

As Commonwealth, the 53-member grouping of former British colonies, comprises mostly developing countries and some very small island states, the two sides focused on protecting the economies of these countries from adverse effects of the meltdown.

Sharma also discussed progress made in key focus areas agreed by leaders at the Commonwealth Summit in Kampala last year.

As one of the focus area was building understanding between those of different faith, ethnicity and language, the issue of violence against Christians in some parts of India in recent weeks also figured in the discussions.

With the anti-Christian violence in Orissa and Karnataka stirring widespread concerns globally, Sharma conveyed that the Commonwealth secretariat was receiving representations from civil society groups voicing concerns on the issue.

These concerns have been conveyed to India, the sources added.

The developments in South Asia, especially in Pakistan, also figured in discussions between Sharma and the Indian leaders.

Mukherjee and Sharma also discussed issues relating to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Commonwealth in 2009.

Sharma, India’s former high commissioner to Britain, arrived here after attending the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune. He leaves Wednesday after wrapping up his official visit to India - his first since taking over as Commonwealth secretary-general six months ago.

In his meeting with Sports Minister M.S. Gill, he discussed issues relating to the Commonwealth Games that New Delhi will host in 2010.

During his stay in New Delhi, he also met Vice President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani.

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