Protectionism, terrorism on Manmohan Singh’s agenda at G20 summit (Lead)March 31st, 2009 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS
By Arvind Padmanabhan
On Board Prime Minister’s Aircraft, March 31 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh voiced concern over protectionism and called for free flow of funds to poor and developing countries as he left for London to attend the G20 summit on the global economic crisis.
The prime minister also said he looked forward to his first meeting with Barack Obama since the US president assumed office in January, and hoped to discuss with him issues such as the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the fate of the global economy.
“Besides a bilateral meeting with (British) Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the host, I also look forward to meeting Obama,” Manmohan Singh said as he left on a four-day visit, his last official engagement before the Lok Sabha elections.
“This will be our first meeting and will be an opportunity for us to review our bilateral relations, as well as hold discussions on important regional and global issues such as terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan, energy security and climate change,” the prime minister said, referring to his meeting with Obama.
Alluding to the importance of the G20 grouping of major developed countries and emerging economies in addressing the global financial downturn, the prime minister underlined the need for the summit to take “coordinated and purposeful action” and “coordinated fiscal stimulus by major economies” to offset the decline in private demand.
He also listed core areas for discussion at the summit:
- Need to ensure adequate flow of finances to developing countries
- Need to overcome reversal of international capital flows
- Ensure the process to attain the UN Millennium Development Goals are not retarded
- Need to avoid protectionism in the trade of goods and services, facilitation of trade finance, reform and restructure international financial institutions.
“The time has come for the international economic and financial architecture to reflect its economic strength,” he said.
“We (India) would like to ensure that our economy continues to expand at a healthy rate to meet the principal challenges of eradicating poverty and ensuring balanced and inclusive socio-economic development for our people. Our economic, financial and banking institutions have shown great resilience and the fundamentals of our economy remain strong.”
Manmohan Singh also emphasised an agreement on a set of principles to plug loopholes and weaknesses in the supervisory and regulatory arrangements for the financial institutions and the need to undertake effective measures designed to provide emerging and developing countries adequate resources to offset the effects of global slowdown on their economies”.
“It is important and necessary for the summit to take credible decisions which will help to halt and reverse the current slowdown and to instil a sense of confidence in the global economy,” he said.
The prime minister said the fundamentals of the Indian economy remained strong. India would “like to ensure that our economy continues to expand at a healthy rate to meet the principal challenges of eradicating poverty and ensuring balanced and inclusive socio-economic development for our people”.
“Our economic, financial and banking institutions have shown great resilience and the fundamentals of our economy remain strong,” he said.
Manmohan Singh will also attend a reception hosted by the queen Wednesday and a banquet by Prime Minister Brown the same evening.
This will be his first trip abroad since his multiple heart bypass surgery in January. It is also his last scheduled international trip as head of the current United Progressive Alliance government.
The G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain, the US and the EU.
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