NEW YORK: Coinciding with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly session, India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was also on a five-day visit to the US, working through a schedule that was busier than that of the prime minister.
During his visit, between New York and Washington DC, Mukherjee attended the Annual fund Bank, G-20, G-24, BRICS and IMFC meetings; asked for more investment in India from foreign investors and business leaders; and took over, as India’s representative, the Presidency of G-24 Group.
During his first leg of visit in New York, Sept 21, Mukherjee delivered the keynote address at the 8th Annual India Investment Forum Meeting on the theme of India’s continuing growth story; following which he addressed the US-India Business Council (USIBC)-FICCI Round Table meeting.
During his second leg of visit, Sept 22, Mukherjee addressed the India-US CEOs Forum Meeting in Washington.
The same day, Mukherjee attended the BRICS Finance Ministers’ Meeting which has been convened by India on the sidelines of the Fund Bank and G-20 Meetings in order to explore the manner in which this group consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa can coordinate in addressing the evolving economic and financial situations in various countries of the world. The main objective of the meeting was to discuss the concerns regarding the current situation of the global economy and the policy response by BRICS member countries.
The next BRICS Summit is to be held in India next year for which a very large economic agenda is being worked out.
All the BRICS members are currently members of the UN Security Council, and they have a convergence of views on a number of issues which are on the agenda of the Council. In this context, they discussed Libya, Syria and the Palestine issue. The BRICS members agreed that they should promote cooperation among other emerging economies and they support the early accession of Russia to the World Trade Organization.
The BRICS members also had a discussion on climate change, and they supported the Common but Differentiated Obligations to deal with this challenge. They also believe there is need for greater financial and technological transfer to the developing countries and they will cooperate for a successful conclusion of the Rio+20.
In the afternoon, Mukherjee attended the 86th Meeting of G-24 Ministers, which discussed the issue of recovery, growth and development especially relevant given the current global economic environment. It also discussed the strategy and action plan for enhancing the effectiveness of the G-24 Group. The objective was to reflect on and reassess the role and value added of the G-24. Towards the end of the meeting, Pravin J. Gordhan, the Finance Minister of South Africa handed over the Presidency of G-24 to Mukherjee. India is chairing the G-24 Ministers after a gap of almost three decades.
That evening Mukherjee attended a working dinner meeting of G-20 finance ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss global economy and framework.
On Sept 23, finance minister Mukherjee attended the Plenary Session of the Annual Meeting of International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. This Plenary Meeting was actually a curtain raiser for the Fund Bank Annual Meeting and set the agenda for the Development Committee Meeting and the IMFC Meeting which followed on the next day.
That afternoon, the Finance Minister also attended the joint International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC) and World Economic Forum Meeting consisting of 24 Ministers and 24 CEOs, the first such meeting to be held ever.
The G-20 Finance Ministers and Development Ministers Meeting that evening focused on development agenda including infrastructure and food security; and on development financing which included a report by Bill Gates Foundation on Development Financing and World Bank’s Report on Climate Financing.
On Sept 24, the Finance Minister attended an IMFC breakfast meeting and Plenary Meeting, where presentations were made on a new Consolidated Multilateral Surveillance Report (CMSR) and on the Funds Action Plan during the Plenary Meeting of IMFC.
The World Bank Development Committee Meetings that afternoon focused on the current economic scenario, growth and jobs as well as on global development issues and the implications of the 2012 World Development Report on Gender on the Bank’s activities.
Minister Mukherjee was also part of the G4 – Brazil, Germany, India and Japan – foreign ministers meet, where members reiterated their common vision of an enlarged Security Council for the 21st century, expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership taking into consideration the contributions made by the countries to the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as the need for increased representation of developing countries in both categories. The Ministers expressed the view that strong support should be considered as the basis for further discussion; and they noted that the inter-governmental negotiations are continuing in this session.
Besides above, Minister Mukherjee had bilateral meetings with his counterparts from constituency members i.e. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan and also with his counterparts from the UK, France, Greece, Iran and Japan.
India Post News Service