Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that at the G20 summit in London on Thursday, he will voice the need to avoid protectionism. He also underlined that he looked forward to his first meeting with US President Barack Obama. They are expected to discuss terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan and the economy.
"Besides a bilateral meeting with (British) Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is the host of the meeting, I also look forward to my meeting with US President Barack Obama," Manmohan Singh said a few hours before he was scheduled to leave for London on a four day visit.
"This will be our first meeting and will be an opportunity for us to review our bilateral relations, as well as hold discussions on important regional and global issues such as terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan, energy security and climate change," the prime minister said in a statement, referring to his meeting with Obama.
Alluding to the importance of the G20 grouping of major developed countries and emerging economies in addressing the global financial downturn, the prime minister underlined the need for the summit to take "coordinated and purposeful action" and "coordinated fiscal stimulus by major economies" to offset the decline in private demand.
He also emphasised on an "agreement on a set of principles to plug loopholes and weaknesses in the supervisory and regulatory arrangements for the financial institutions and the need to undertake effective measures designed to provide emerging and developing countries adequate resources to offset the effects of global slowdown on their economies".
"It is important and necessary for the summit to take credible decisions which will help to halt and reverse the current slowdown and to instil a sense of confidence in the global economy," Manmohan Singh said.
He underscored "the need to ensure the adequate flow of finances to the developing countries to overcome the reversal of international capital flows and not retard progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals".
The prime minister also underlined the pitfalls of resorting to protectionism in the trade of both goods and services and reform and restructuring of international financial institutions. "The time has come for the international economic and financial architecture to reflect contemporary economic strengths," he said.
Manmohan Singh stressed that the fundamentals of the Indian economy remained strong and said India would "like to ensure that our economy continues to expand at a healthy rate to meet the principal challenges of eradicating poverty and ensuring balanced and inclusive socio-economic development for our people".
"Our economic, financial and banking institutions have shown great resilience and the fundamentals of our economy remain strong," he said.
Manmohan Singh will also attend a reception being hosted by the queen on Wednesday and a banquet by Prime Minister Gordon Brown the same evening. This will be his first trip abroad since his multiple heart bypass surgery in January. It is also his last scheduled international trip as head of the current United Progressive Alliance government.
The G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, the US and the EU.