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'India can’t fight food and oil crisis alone'

Foreign Secretary SS Menon said India will push for a collective response to the worldwide spike in food and oil prices when Manmohan meets G-8 leaders. HTCorrespondent reports.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 05, 2008 02:26 AM IST

India will push for a collective response to the worldwide spike in food and oil prices when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets with G-8 leaders in Japan next week, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon said.

Spiralling food and oil costs have driven inflation to worrying levels across countries, heightening fears of widespread job losses and food riots, especially in impoverished countries of Africa and elsewhere.

Back home, government data on Friday showed the wholesale price-based inflation rate rose to a new 13-year high 11.63 per cent. “There is much more stress on the world economy today than there was when the G-8 met a year ago,” Menon told reporters.

In the past year, the world economy has seen its outlook change rapidly as a housing loan crisis in the US wreaked havoc on global finances and an unrelenting surge in crude prices took a toll on inflation worldwide.

Leaders of the G8 countries — the US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia — will be joined by their counterparts from five outreach countries that include Brazil, China, South Africa, Mexico and India. At this year’s meeting, three more countries — Australia, Indonesia and South Korea — will also attend.

When the world was presented with such problems in the past, such as the oil shock in 1973 and 1979, the leading economic powers came forward with a collective response, Menon said. This time around, there seems to little coordination to deal with problem, especially when it comes to crude prices that have doubled in the past year, he said.

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