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PM to take up India's concerns at G20 Summit in Cannes

Last updated on: November 1, 2011 20:49 IST

PM to take up India's concerns at G20 Summit in Cannes

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A Correspondent in New Delhi

When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attends the G20 Summit in Cannes on November 3 and 4, it will not be solely to help extricate the Eurozone from the quagmire of economic mess, but also to push forth India's agenda on infrastructure financing, development, employment creation, food security, clamping down on black money, proscribing trade protectionism, and demanding more open markets.

Dr Singh will be leaving for Cannes on Wednesday to attend the sixth summit of the world's 20 most significant economies, since it was first hosted by then US President George W Bush in Washington in November 2008.

The prime minister will be assisted by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, India's Sherpa to the G20 process.

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Photographs: Reuters
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PM to take up India's concerns at G20 Summit in Cannes

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The Euro zone debt crisis will remain the focal point at the summit, but it is likely that the BRICS nations -- India, China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa -- might offer to bailout the floundering Eurozone given that the impending recession in the European Union might have a debilitating impact on the developing nations too.

It is, however, not very clear to what extent would BRICS offer help to Europe.

India's reaction to the Eurozone plan that was hammered out hastily just last week has been positive.

Speaking to the media on Saturday, Ahluwalia had said that the plan 'makes some very important statements.

It clearly says something very specific about Greece. Greece has been a problem that has been building up and it did need to be addressed, and we actually welcomed the realism that is built into the parameters that have been laid down for Greece.'

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Photographs: Reuters
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PM to take up India's concerns at G20 Summit in Cannes

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However, the plan involves a very large voluntary debt reduction, the details of which will be worked out by December.

But India feels that debt reduction alone is not enough, for Greece will also need an EU-cum-IMF support package which will have to be negotiated.

"India, however, welcomes the effort to stabilize Greece and we have to wait till the end of the year to see what specific proposals come out of it," Ahluwalia had said.

With the Eurozone slipping into a possible recession, which could hurt the global economy for over two years -- efforts are being made to find a solution to the problems of European profligacy, look for prospects to overcome these difficulties and move on to a sustainable, robust, global growth path.

Among the solutions -- apart from the BRICS offer to help -- would be a possible set of innovative ways suggested by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to overcome this crisis.

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Photographs: Reuters
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PM to take up India's concerns at G20 Summit in Cannes

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Thrown in for a good measure is also a challenge set by maverick business leader Simon Wolfson (the chief executive of United Kingdom-based retail major, Next Group) who has offered to give away a prize of Euro 250,000 to whoever can solve the biggest debt crisis in the history of mankind.

But India's concerns still remain prominent and these too would be discussed at the Summit, especially those related to the unbearable price rise in the country due to heavy liquidity and high global commodity prices.

While at Cannes, the prime minister is also likely to push for voluntary exchange of tax information to curb black money.

The two-day summit to be held from Thursday in the seaside resort town, famous for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, itself hopes to agree on measures to head off the threat of global recession.

The prime minister will return home on Saturday.

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Image: A general view shows the harbor and the Festival Palace (R), the venue of the G20 summit in Cannes.
Photographs: Christian Hartmann/Reuters
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PM to take up India's concerns at G20 Summit in Cannes

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The summit hosted by French President Nikolas Sarkozy is expected to seek commitments from all G20 members on growth and on rebalancing public finances.

US President Barack Obama, British Premier David Cameron and Chinese President Hu Jintao will be among the world leaders at the critical summit.

Singh is expected to urge the G20 to take quick, decisive and necessary steps to address current economic instability and to take concrete steps to put open trade, jobs, social protection and economic development at the heart of the recovery.

While underscoring the need to avoid protectionism, he is expected to advocate the importance of an open, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading system as a driver of global growth.

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Image: French President Nikolas Sarkozy.
Photographs: Reuters
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PM to take up India's concerns at G20 Summit in Cannes

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The economist-turned prime minister, whose advice is often sought at the G20 high table, is expected to give this prescription for providing the necessary confidence to global markets and ensure a more stable global economic environment.

Besides India and host France, the G20 comprises Brazil, the US, Canada, China, Argentina, Australia, South Korea, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Britain, and the European Union.

At the summit it is hoped that an agreement will be reached on creating new IMF credit lines to increase the international system's ability to resist systemic shocks.


Photographs: Reuters
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