PM to favour ‘joint action’ on oil price at G-8 meet


New Delhi : With India reeling under soaring inflation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said he will press for “joint action” to tackle the problem of rising global oil prices at the G-8 annual conclave during his visit to Japan that begins Monday.

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There was, however, no mention of the India-US civil nuclear deal in the prime minister’s departure statement, which was released a day before he goes to attend the conclave of the world’s wealthiest nations and the meeting of outreach countries Monday.

The nuclear deal is expected to hog the spotlight when he meets US President George W. Bush Wednesday on the sidelines of the G-8 summit.

“Today, India’s views are heard with respect, and there is recognition of the fact that solutions to global issues require India’s involvement,” said Manmohan Singh, setting an upbeat note for his visit to the northern Japanese town of Hokkaido-Toyako to attend the conclave.

“Over the years, India’s participation in the G-8/G-5 dialogue process has enabled us to articulate our concerns on a wide range of issues in a forthright manner, on an equal footing,” he said.

“At the forthcoming summit, I will present India’s perspectives on a wide range of global issues, including the state of the world economy, development, trade, transfer of technology, energy security and food security,” he said.

“I will, in particular, highlight the impact of the sharp rise in fuel prices on the global economy and the need for joint action by both producing and consuming nations,” he stressed in a reference to sharply spiralling oil prices which have exceeded $140 per barrel.

Besides meeting Bush, Manmohan Singh will hold bilateral talks with leaders of Russia, Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Mexico and South Korea. He will also meet United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

With clear indications that his government is ready to take the nuclear deal forward after mobilizing an alternative arrangement in case the Left parties pull out their support to the ruling coalition, the prime minister is expected to seek the support of leaders of other Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) countries who will be present at the conclave.

He will also participate in an informal meeting of the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) leaders on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit.

As climate change tops the agenda of the G-8 summit and the meeting of major economies, which will be held on the sidelines, Manmohan Singh said he will convey to the the international community the need for “an integrated approach” toward “interlinked” issues of climate change, energy security and food security.

Alluding to the National Action Plan on Climate Change which was released recently, the prime minister underscored India’s commitment to work with other countries to find solutions within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Bali Road Map.

Stressing on “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” in cutting down greenhouse gas emissions, he said: “In our view there can be no solution without taking into account the developmental imperatives and aspirations of developing economies.

“For us, the foremost priority is the removal of poverty, for which we need sustained rapid economic growth,” he added.

India is one of the five countries, also called O-5, that have been invited as outreach partners to the Group of Eight (G8) summit. Other countries are China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.

The O-5 countries will also hold a separate meeting to discuss global issues like climate change, food security, and oil prices and are expected to come out with a working document reflecting their common position on pressing global issues.

This time round, in view of oil and food crises, leaders of other major economies like Australia, South Korea and Indonesia have been invited to forge a collective response to global issues.