Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in London on a four-day official visit to attend the G20 meet opening on Thursday. A high-level delegation accompanying him includes Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan.
World leaders are gathering in London to discuss ways to resolve the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. World leaders will be looking at Singh for solutions to correct imbalances in the global economic system. The summit is taking place amid tight security and police warnings of likely unprecedented levels of protest.
U.S. President Barack Obama also arrived in London on his first visit to Europe since assuming office, with high hopes of forging a new global deal. He will begin a round of meetings with other world leaders, including the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and the Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Singh is expected to meet Obama along with other top world leaders in the next three days.
Ahead of the G20 summit, Indian officials said major unresolved differences existed, notably between Europe and the US as well as between the developing and the rich nations on some key issues. These include the quantum of additional money to be provided to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for lending to needy nations to meet their challenges posed by the current global meltdown and the reforming of global financial system.
Voicing concern over protectionism, Singh called for credible decisions to halt the global meltdown. India has sought to send out a clear message that it would not tolerate protectionism, and said the flow of credit to needy countries must be continued. It was an unfortunate reality that the effects of the slowdown have spread across the world and developing countries, particularly those in Africa are facing its worst consequences, Singh added.
The core areas listed by the Indian Prime Minister comprise the need to ensure adequate flow of finances to the developing countries to overcome the reversal of international capital flows and not to retard progress towards the attainment of the UN Millennium Development goals, the need to avoid protectionism in trade of both goods and services and the restructuring of international financial institutions.
He also said the time had come for the international economic and financial architecture to reflect its economic strength.
On Tuesday, the French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said that France would walk out of the meeting, if its demands for stricter financial regulation were not met.
It was important and necessary for the summit to take credible decisions, which would help to halt and reverse the current slowdown and to instill a sense of confidence in the global economy, the Prime Minister said, before leaving for the London Summit.
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