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Economic issues: G-20 heeds PM’s plea

Agencies | 07th Sep 2013
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (3rd R) with other leaders during a photo session at G-20 Summit in Strelna, St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (3rd R) with other leaders during a photo session at G-20 Summit in Strelna, St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.

St. Petersburg: India won a small victory in the end at the G-20, with the conference adopting a declaration mindful of Prime Minister Manm­ohan Singh’s push for an orderly exit from the developed nations’ “unconventional economic policies”.

The developed economies fell in line with a line championed by India within the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – grouping and pledged to withdraw their stimulus measures carefully following global concern about the US Federal Reserve’s plan to wind down its bond-buying programme.

A sudden announcement by the US Fed in late May that it was going to reverse its easy money policy had rattled the stock and currency markets in emerging economies, including Ind­ia, triggering the massive fall in the value of their currencies in recent we­eks.

Now, the G-20 leaders, including the US, have sou­ght to assuage those fears by pledging to rem­ain “mindful of the risks and unintended negative side effects of extended periods of monetary easing” and that “Our central banks have committed that futu­re changes to monetary policy settings will continue to be carefully calibrated and clearly communicated.”

The plea for the US to “carefully calibrate and clearly communicate” its policy changes was earlier championed by India and adopted as a resolution by the BRICS group. The world leaders also agreed to crack down on tax avoidance by multinational com­­panies such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Star­bucks that take advantage of tax havens and taxation agreements between nati­ons. 

The one issue that the US wouldn’t agree on was to step back from a military strike on Syria, a move opposed by Russia, India and China among others.

G20 summit fails to resolve Syria crisis

The G20 summit has failed to heal the rift over US plans for military action against the embattled Syrian regime, as American President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin could not reach consensus on Friday during “candid and constructive” talks.

The divide at the summit was symbolised by a separate statement issued by eleven G20 states that called for a “strong international response” to a chemical weapons attack they said was clearly carried out by the Bashar al-Assad regime.

“The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime,” said the statement, which was supported by states like Britain, France, United States and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier on Friday, Putin met Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit and held talks on Syria. Putin said the meeting did not end their differences on the conflict.

“We spoke sitting down... it was a constructive, meaningful, cordial conversation. Each of us kept with our own opinion,” Putin said. The US President said that the world cannot “stand idly” on Syria and announced he would address the nation over the crisis on Tuesday. He described his talks with Putin as “as candid and constructive”.

Meanwhile, the head of Syria’s Parliament has urged the US Congress to vote against military action targeting the Syrian regime, state news agency SANA said on Friday.

“We urge you not to take reckless measures as you have the power to steer the United States from the path of war to that of diplomacy,” SANA quoted Parliament chief Jihad al-Lahham as saying. Also, Turkey has beefed up its military presence along its southern border with Syria.  

Next: Cameron defends Britain after Russia’s ‘small island’ remark


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