Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday held bilateral meetings with her counterparts from Japan, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and South Korea as part of India’s efforts to boost its economic ties with the main countries of the world.
Standing on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the Minister of Finance, in addition to bilateral issues, discussed with them some of the main economic challenges facing the world, in particular the energy crisis and inflation following the Ukrainian war, debt sustainability and climate change.
India’s emergence as a bright spot during the current global recession and some of its successful policies such as digitalization and direct cash transfers have been appreciated by its counterparts.
The finance minister took the opportunity to get input from these leaders on the role India could play next year as chair of the G-20 group of countries.
During her meeting with Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, the finance minister said that 2023 will bring greater responsibilities to both countries on the world stage.
In 2023, India holds the presidency of the G-20 and Japan of the G-7 group of countries.
The two finance ministers also discussed major programs relating to Indo-Pacific economic cooperation.
Sitharaman told Suzuki that this year is special for bilateral Indo-Japanese relations as the two countries mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, as well as India celebrating 75 years of independence.
Sitharaman, during his meetings with South Korean Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho, discussed funding possibilities for the G-20 in 2023 and asked for his country’s support when India takes over the chairmanship of the group.
During the meeting, she invited Kyung-ho to India for the 6th India-South Korea Finance Ministers Meeting.
During his meeting with Saudi Minister of State for Finance Mohammed Al Jadaan, the two leaders discussed several economic and financial issues, as well as Indo-Saudi bilateral cooperation issues.
Sitharaman also held a meeting with Netherlands Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag, who was invited by India as a G-20 guest country under the Indian Presidency.
Sitharaman said she looked forward to engaging with the Netherlands in the G20 process for their valuable contribution.
Sitharaman and Kaag also discussed issues related to global public goods, debt sustainability and climate change.
While meeting with his Bhutanese counterpart, Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, Sitharaman said India is looking forward to expanding bilateral cooperation between the two countries to new and emerging areas such as space, digital technologies, finance, the health sector, as well as higher education.
Sitharaman reiterated that India is keen to advance and deepen the bilateral relations between India and Bhutan for the development and welfare of the peoples of both countries.
Tshering expressed his gratitude to India for its assistance in implementing its 12th five-year plan and the additional $200 million currency swap deal.
He also thanked India for the deployment of Bhim UPI and Rupay in Bhutan.
The two ministers also discussed several other bilateral development and cooperation issues, including hydropower and COVID-19 assistance.
Sitharaman also attended a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) chaired by Raja Kumar of Singapore, the country currently holding the chairmanship of this body.