India says 'best available' person should head IMF

31st May 2011, Comments 0 comments

India, which has criticised Europe's bid to keep its lock on the top job at the IMF, said on Tuesday that the "best available person" should be selected as head of the global lender.

Earlier in the month, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- the so-called BRICS economies -- said Europe's longstanding exclusive deal to lead the IMF "undermines the legitimacy of the Fund."

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday in New Delhi that management of global institutions needed to be "brought up to date with contemporary realities."

But he added, "The best available person regardless of his or her nationality should be selected for such a prestigious post."

He was speaking at a joint press conference in New Delhi with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Singh did not express any view on French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde who has emerged as the front-runner to lead the IMF, but Germany's finance minister has voiced support for her candidacy.

Lagarde is currently in Brazil as part of a tour to drum up support for her candidacy that will also take her to India and China.

Singh said at the weekend India was in touch with various nations seeking a consensus candidate to head the IMF after the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is awaiting trial in the United States on sex charges.

But emerging economic powers have not yet agreed on a candidate of their own.

So far, Lagarde has two declared rivals -- Mexico's central bank chief Agustin Carstens and Kazakh central bank boss Grigory Marchenko.

India's top candidate, senior government economic adviser Montek Singh Ahluwalia, was ruled out of the race because he was too old at the age of 68.

A European has headed the IMF, and a US national the World Bank, under an arrangement since the two organisations were created under the Bretton Woods agreement at the end of World War II.

The IMF is due to publish a full list of candidates by June 17. The final selection is expected to be announced by June 30.

© 2011 AFP

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