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Manmohan invokes NAM, questions West's control of IMF

Sunday May 29, 2011 10:50:45 AM, IANS

On Board Air India One: With Western powers not willing to loosen their grip over key global institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday invoked the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and exhorted developing countries to pool their collective weight to create an equitable and sustainable world order.

"The NAM movement has not lost its relevance," Manmohan Singh asserted at a mid-air press conference while returning from a six-day official visit to Ethiopia and Tanzania.

"Globalisation has come to be accepted as unavoidable. But we want to develop a style and substance of globalisation which benefits all players, and that is the role in which the NAM has to play," he said.

Stressing that "ultimately all international relations are power relations", Manmohan Singh said: "It is our desire to pool all the collective weight of the developing countries to make the processes of global growth more equitable, more sustainable."

Manmohan Singh's comments come against the backdrop of the reluctance of Western powers to make way for developing countries in key global institutions like the IMF, World Bank and the UN Security Council, and point to move to revive South-South global platforms like the NAM.

Questioning the monopoly of Western powers in the IMF, Manmohan Singh said top positions in international financial institutions should not go "to specific countries as a matter of right" and pushed hard for a "more equitable world order" that accommodates aspirations of developing countries.

He added that India was in touch with other countries and hoped for a consensus on the successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned this month as IMF chief after being arrested on charges of sexual assault on a hotel maid.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has emerged as a front-runner for the IMF top job.

"We would like to remind the industrialised world that there is a tacit agreement that the top positions in international financial institutions must not go to specific countries as a matter of right," Manmohan Singh said.

He pointed out that he noticed "a desire in Europe to have a European occupy this coveted position (IMF top job)", but stressed that this was no argument against talent being the main criteria for recruitment. "The best available talent in the world should be available to man these institutions," he said.

"But having said that, you do recognise that those who exercise power, they don't want to give up power and therefore the struggle for a better, balanced world order, a more equitable world order, including the management of global institutions like the IMF, World Bank, Security Council -- it is going to be a long haul, I am afraid."

India, along with other BRICS countries -- China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa -- has contested the decades-old practice of choosing an European to head the IMF and an American to head the World Bank.

Earlier this week, IMF officials from BRICS countries joined hands to assert that nationality should not be a criteria for the IMF top job. The BRICS countries are exploring the possibility of fielding a joint candidate, but they have so far failed to name a common candidate.

Earlier this week, Manmohan Singh said in Addis Ababa where he was attending the India-Africa Forum Summit, that the reform of global institutions is high on the agenda of many developing countries, but could take time.

"I do recognize that the struggle for the transformation of global institutions including the Breton Woods institutions is not a one-shot operation. It is a long process, in which all the developing countries will have to stand united," he had said.




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