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Global heads seek "responsible India"

European leaders asked New Delhi to be more flexible and responsible in its new role, reports Gaurav Choudhury.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2007 22:12 IST

India's emerging strengths as an economic power that throws up investors and shows diplomatic muscle in multilateral negotiations received recognition on Wednesday as European leaders asked New Delhi to be more flexible and responsible in its new role.

In simpler terms, that meant a higher sensitisation to poorer sections of the world and a more accommodative attitude in world trade tralks.

"In Europe and the US, the emergence of Indian companies as investors or acquirers is still viewed with a mixture of surprise and suspicion. So this notion that India needs to understand the scope of its new roles and responsibilities is very appropriate", President of Portugal Anibal Antonio Cavaco Silva said at the Partnership Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Bangalore.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said, "No investor, whether Indian or foreign, wants surprises; he or she wants improvements."

"Quite clearly, the Indian economy will continue to see unprecedented levels of growth and India will play its role as a major engine of global economic growth with full responsibility," said Nath.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Nath said that both the developed and the developing countries need to evolve mindsets attuned to changing conditions and the needs of the "poorest of the poor" have to be kept uppermost in the minds of the governments.

The minister also said that in order to break the current impasse in the Doha round of the WTO, it is the developed countries that have to show the leadership. "Doha round is known as the development round and the leadership for this has to come from the developed countries", he said.

World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy has also asked India to show more "flexibility" to break the current impasse in trade negotiations.

The Portugese president said that countries should also pay appropriate attention to some of the "real issues" raised by the critics of globalisation, failing which, there could be a risk of social unrest and backlash.

"It would be unfortunate if the current intensity in international trade and dialogue were to be replaced by more isolationist approaches to development and growth… Most of the issues posed by globalisation can be seen as challenges for political leaders around the world to improve the quality of domestic policies. Others may need to be managed at a global scale," he added.

Silva said that political leaders should help prepare their fellow citizens and business leaders for the changes that a more integrated world is constantly bringing about.

Dr Ashley J Tellis, senior associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, USA, said that a strong and stable India that is economically integrated to the US, is an asset to the latter. Both the countries, he said share certain common goals, including minimising risk with rivals and maximising benefits with friends.

Richard Lambert, director general, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) indentified growing signs of economic nationalism in Russia and mineral rich countries of Latin America as a cause for worry.

"There are justifiable concerns that the economic benefits of globalisation have not been spread widely. The gap between rich and poor has tended to widen in developed and developing countries alike, raising political questions about arguments for liberal trade policies", said Lambert.

Email Gaurav Choudhury: gaurav.choudhury@hindustantimes.com