India's fast-paced growth is helping the global economy come out of the crisis and its status as a rising financial power is closely connected with its own internal dynamics, World Bank president Robert B Zoellick has said.
"India's return to high levels of growth is helping the global economy recover from the crisis," Zoellick said, ahead of his four-day visit to this country starting on Monday that is aimed at strengthening cooperation in infrastructure and inclusive growth.
"While developing countries have been a key driver of global growth, challenges remain for both the developed and developing worlds. We will work with our partners to meet those challenges, strengthening local opportunity and global growth," he said.
The World Bank group significantly boosted its support to India last year to help offset the impact of the global financial crisis, with a record $11.1 billion in commitments to the country during the financial year ended June 2010.
The record funding commitment was made in response to India's request to help insulate its capital market from the global slowdown, support infrastructure and help continue delivering essential social services.
Zoellick said India's needs, especially for financing its ambitious infrastructure and human development programs, are growing rapidly as it strives to improve the lives of over a billion people -- one-third of whom are desperately poor.
"India is a player on the global stage. The country's status as a rising economic power is closely connected with how it manages this next phase of growth," said the bank chief emphasising on the need to balance rapid growth with opportunities for all.
"We support the Indian government's strategy of boosting growth, while helping the most vulnerable people be able to seize the opportunities afforded by an expanding economy," said the president, who had last visited India in December 2009.
During his visit, Zoellick is scheduled to meet with a host of leaders and policymakers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
His visit also comes ahead of India gearing itself for implementing one of its biggest investment plans on a host of areas during the 12th Five Year Plan starting April 2012, where the World Bank group will play an important role in supplementing the funds.
The bank has more than 70 active projects in India, including several large projects in the critical area of infrastructure. According to bank officials in New Delhi, the president was expected to sign two new projects in the roads and disaster management sectors.
Besides the capital, he will also visit Bihar.
The World Bank Group includes the International Development Association focussed on the poor, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for long-term, low-interest loans and the private sector funding arm International Finance Corporation.