India will chart its own path as president of G20: Minister Sitharaman

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India’s Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman walking out of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting on October 13, 2022 in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

India’s Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman, said countries are acutely concerned about the economic crisis, and India will chart its own path to address impending global challenges as President of the G20 group starting December 1, 2022. She was speaking at a press briefing October 15, in Washington, D.C. on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank annual Fall meetings.

In response to a question from News India Times about Finance Minister of Indonesia, Sri Mulyani Indrawati’s warning that the world is in a dangerous state due to the challenging global economic situation, Sitharaman stated “Sri Mulyani’s statement on the situation prevailing and the challenges that we will have to face comes out of her experience of one year of having been the Chair of G20. And it’s also something which every country is concerned about – so there are a lot of challenges for every country.”

Sitharaman met with G20 members over an informal breakfast while in D.C. “There was a very positive and cooperative mood. Unhesitatingly, I found all of them extending cooperation and saying India’s year as Presidentship should take on issues and we’re all here to support and cooperate with you.”

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According to Sitharaman, while there’s no definitive agenda yet, she has broadly laid out focal areas, such as how multilateral banks can effectively leverage their finances, debt situation, climate finance, and matters relating to cryptocurrencies and crypto assets.

From left, Deputy Chief of Mission, Indian Embassy, Sripriya Ranganathan, Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, and Secretary (DEA), Ajay Seth at the press conference on October 15, 2022 in the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Applauding Indonesia for successfully leading the G20 and attempting to get every country on board for decision-making, Sitharaman said, “For India, it is more extraneous factors which are going to be the challenges that we will have to get ourselves prepared for. And also that it is going to be inherited from Indonesia to India during the Presidency,” adding, “We’ll have to learn our lessons from her way of having handled it and also find our own course for navigating through the Presidency. But the challenges that worry all of us are there for everybody to feel and work around.”

 After coming out from the October 13th G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting, Indrawati wished India well on its forthcoming Presidency but cautioned, “The economic situation has become more and more challenging. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that the world is in a dangerous condition… the world is currently facing an increasing risk with high inflation, energy and food insecurity crises, climate risk, and geopolitical fragmentation.” She highlighted that these challenges need leadership and collective action of G20, which represents 85 per cent of the global economy.

In addition to participating in G20 FMCBG, and IMF Development Committee Plenary, Sitharaman during her week-long trip had 24 bilateral engagements with finance ministers including U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, held meetings with heads of multilateral institutions, and interacted with prominent CEOs of U.S. and Indian companies. She also spoke at the Brookings Institution about India’s economic prospects and role in the world economy, and the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies on the topic of “Technology, Finance and Governance: The Multiplier Effect.”

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