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Cancun: Indian delegation among largest
BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi |
September 08, 2003 09:17 IST
India's delegation for the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation members in Cancun, starting this Wednesday, will rank among the largest it has sent for any of the four previous ministerials.
According to government officials, the delegation, being led by Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley, will consist of over 50 members from various ministries including agriculture, textiles and the department of industrial policy.
While officials from other ministries will advise on sectoral issues, the negotiations will be handled largely by commerce ministry officials who would be joined by India's ambassador to the WTO KM Chandrasekhar in Cancun. Among the officers, commerce secretary Dipak Chatterjee will be the most active in the green room.
Chatterjee, a 1967 batch IAS officer from the West Bengal cadre, has kept a low-profile and prefers to work behind the screen. The officials, however, said the two-year experience of the chairman-designate of the Competition Commission of India as commerce secretary will be useful during the trade talks.
SN Menon, additional secretary in charge of the trade policy division in the commerce ministry, will be the other key member of the delegation.
Though Menon joined the ministry in early 2001, he has been handling multilateral negotiations after the Doha ministerial. Menon, who is due for promotion as a secretary, has been coordinating with officials in the commerce ministry as well as the other government departments and ministries for the ministerial.
Menon, who is also from the West Bengal cadre, was a key player behind the agricultural framework prepared by the group of 20 developing countries and was in Geneva when the TRIPS (Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights) and public health agreement was being worked out.
The trade policy division also has two joint secretaries including R Gopalan, an IAS officer from the Tamil Nadu cadre, who deals with subjects such as agriculture and implementation issues. The other joint secretary in the division, who deals with the Singapore issues and non-agricultural market access, is yet to be officially appointed.VS Sheshadari, who recently moved out of the ministry for the Indian embassy in Washington, would also join the team in Cancun. For all the commerce ministry officials, however, this would be the first exposure to ministerials.