Manmohan leaves for Seoul Wednesday, will meet Obama again

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet with US President Barack Obama yet again in a few days in Seoul where he goes Wednesday on a three-day visit to attend the G20 Summit.

The G20 brings together the world’s richest and emerging economies. India, because of its rising economic clout, is a member of this top club since it was formed in Washington in 2008.

Manmohan Singh also use the occasion to meet with other leaders on the sidelines, including his host, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

Manmohan Singh and Lee last met in Hanoi Oct 29 on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN Summit and had finalised two far-reaching bilateral accords — one on civilian nuclear cooperation and the other on comprehensive economic cooperation.

During their bilateral talks in Seoul, the two sides are expected to take up another important issue - the $12 billion integrated steel project proposed in India by South Korea’s Posco, which has run into rough weather over environmental concerns.

Ahead of the Seoul visit, India secured a major say in global economic affairs with more weight for it, along with China, Brazil and Russia, on the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The reform, the most fundamental overhaul in the fund’s 65-year history, was approved Friday. It has, thereby, also reduced the clout of European members, including Belgium and Germany, in the organisation.

India also expects the Seoul Summit to bring Doha Round of global trade talks under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) back on track, and has already sought to bring key countries on board in this regard.

Through the G20 summit in Seoul, a strong articulation of political intent would lend the necessary momentum to negotiations,” India’s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said recently after meeting key negotiators in Geneva.

According to officials here, the prime minister’s schedule in Seoul includes a working dinner Nov 11 to deliberate on the broad global economic framework, followed by discussions on seven issues including trade, financial regulation an climate change the next day.

The prime minister returns Nov 12.

Besides India and South Korea, the G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the EU.

Filed under: Economy

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