India unlikely to support French candidacy for IMF top post

Merkel to seek New Delhis support for Lagarde

Merkel is the first European leader to visit India after Lagarde announced her candidacy to be the successor of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who of late, resigned as the Managing Director of the IMF in the wake of sex assault charges in New York.

All the 10 IMF chiefs since its inception have been European. Though Lagarde has the support of Germany and many other European nations, India has joined other developing countries to call for a break in the tradition of a European always leading the IMF.

A joint statement issued last week by the representatives of the BRICS– Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – in the IMF Board, said that the choice should be based on competence, not nationality, and called for "abandoning the obsolete unwritten convention that requires the IMF head to be necessarily from Europe.

Lagarde recently said that she would visit New Delhi soon to seek support from Indian Government. The German Chancellor, who ‘strongly’ supported Lagarde’s candidacy to be the IMF chief, will arrive in New Delhi early on Tuesday for a 24-hour-long visit. She will have a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the two leaders launch the first Indo-German Inter-Governmental Consultations.

Diplomatic sources in New Delhi said that Merkel might raise the topic of selection of next IMF chief and ask for India’s support for Lagarde during her talks with Singh.
Prime Minister, however, is likely to make it clear to German Chancellor that the IMF leadership should not always be held by representatives of a particular group of countries and instead should go to the best available talents, no matter where he or she comes from.

“I do see that there is a desire in Europe to have a European occupying this coveted position because very large proportion of IMF funds is now in Europe and particularly in dealing with the tensions in the Euro zone,” Singh had told journalists onboard his special aircraft while returning to New Delhi from a weeklong tour to Africa last Saturday.

Asked what would be New Delhi’s response if German Chancellor sought India’s support for Lagarde, Joint Secretary (External Publicity) and spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Vishnu Prakash, on Monday recalled the PM’s remark.

“Those who exercise power don’t want to give up power and therefore the struggle for a better, balanced world order, a more equitable world order, including the management of global institutions like the IMF, World Bank, Security Council  is going to be a long haul, I am afraid,” Singh had said.

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