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Updated: September 28, 2009 00:41 IST

India's stand at G20 was heard, respected, endorsed

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is seen on board his flight to Geneva from U.S., where he attended G20 Summit on Saturday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is seen on board his flight to Geneva from U.S., where he attended G20 Summit on Saturday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday returned from the G20 Summit at Pittsburgh with some major gains at hand that are making the rich nations now look at the developing world in a new light.

It was evident from the final communique issued by the G20 leaders at the end of the Summit on Friday that it reflected a lot of what Dr. Singh had been pointing out prior to the summit — and all this with a sense of "confidence" as he himself said.

Dr. Singh said India had a lot at stake and also a lot to contribute to the management of the world economy and the outcome was for all to see, as the G20 has now emerged the premier forum on global financial and regulatory matters, giving the G8 grouping of rich nations a virtual burial.

"This is an important development broadening the global governance structure," the prime minister told the accompanying media delegation, reflecting on the realisation among the other G20 leaders of today's economic realities.

"With the rise of Asia, with growth of India, China and Brazil, the economic decision-making has to take into account the views of these countries if it is to have an optimum impact," the prime minister said.

The gains for India, and the developing world, did not end there. India said it was premature for countries to end their fiscal stimulus packages as it would hurt the developing countries the most - and that was what the G20 decided.

"We pledge today to sustain our strong policy response until a durable recovery is secured. We will act to ensure that when growth returns jobs do too. We will avoid any premature withdrawal of stimulus," said the G20 final communique.

In fact, the respect for the Indian premier - who was to turn 77 on Saturday - was also visible when he was seated next to his host and U.S. President Barack Obama at the high table.

In equal measure, officials in the U.S. State Department highlighted that Dr. Singh's visit to Washington will be the first State visit to the U.S. for the new Obama administration.

In some of the other aspects of global financial structure, too, India's stand was reflected in equal measure - notably greater voting rights for developing countries in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In fact, the developing countries that are a part of the G20, mainly India, China and Brazil, also managed to secure what was rather unthinkable even a decade ago - a peer review of the economic policy framework of rich countries.

"The policies of major developed countries, within the framework of review by the G20 will give us an opportunity to pick holes in the functioning of their economies," said the prime minister.

The respect for the views of developing countries, which was earned by them and also forced on the rich nations, also saw their point of view being taken on a host of issues - climate change, fossil fuel subsidies and protectionism.

It is expected that the fruits of the gains made by developing countries during the Pittsburgh G20 Summit will start ripening soon, with a stock-taking expected when its leaders reconvene in Canada in June next year and then in South Korea in November.

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