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Prime Minister to leave for Italy to attend G-8 Summit

New Delhi, July 7 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will leave for Italy this afternoon to attend the G-8 Summit in L’Aquila.

During his four-day visit, Dr. Singh is expected to meet US President Barack Obama and other world leaders.
He will discuss several issues, including climate change, energy and food security with G-8 leaders and those from outreach countries like China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

Prior to the G-8 leaders meeting, he will attend a meeting of the G-5 group China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

The summit will primarily focus on winding down expensive stimulus packages for recession-hit financial systems.

Besides the financial crisis, the summit will also discuss the issue of protectionism, food and energy security.

This will be the fifth time that the Prime Minister will attend a G-8 summit since 2003.Briefing reporters on Dr. Singh’s visit, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said India is willing to discuss proposals to replace the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency.

Menon said India is open to discussing all issues relevant to finding a way out of the world financial downturn, including the dollar’s status.

“This would be one of the ideas which is on the table. There have been ideas and we are ready to discuss all of them,” he said.

Menon said the discussions would focus on “what might have caused the imbalances, what enables the world to prevent future imbalances.”

“One of the big subjects will be the recovery, how to promote recovery, where to find the sources of future growth, what sort of growth we are looking at so that’s going to be one of the big issue. The other big issue, which we think will run through the summit, is also climate change. As we work our way unto Copenhagen in December, this is an issue, which the national community will need to address there. They’ll get a chance to talk about it,” he added.

India has a more critical role to play on climate change, as the 17-member Major Economies Forum (MEF), responsible for about 80 per cent of carbon emissions, meets on the sidelines of the summit. Indian officials said MEF leaders are likely agree on a token declaration because Obama will chair and will not want to be seen leaving empty-handed.

Menon further said that for the first time the G8 and the G5 would issue a joint declaration.

“It’s a process of evolution. To begin with perhaps, yes there was a tendency, for the G8 to issue their declaration before they even met G5 or whatever. This time for the first time ever there is likely to be joint G8 plus G5 declaration,” he said. (ANI)

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