India calls on G-20 finance chiefs to address rising prices

Kyodo News

Posted at Feb 24 2023 08:01 PM

A worker walks past a G20 poster on street of Mumbai, India, 12 December 2022. India officially assumed G-20 Presidency on 01 December 2022. EPA-EFE/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI
A worker walks past a G20 poster on street of Mumbai, India, 12 December 2022. India officially assumed G-20 Presidency on 01 December 2022. EPA-EFE/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI

BENGALURU, India - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called on financial chiefs of the Group of 20 leading economies to address rising prices and other economic challenges the world faces as they met in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru.

"Many societies are suffering due to rising prices...Even the financial viability of many countries is threatened by unsustainable debt levels," Modi said in a video message, adding, "It is now up to you -- the custodians of the leading economies and monetary systems to bring back stability, confidence and growth to the global economy."

The two-day gathering of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors began on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has triggered high inflation around the world.

But the G-20 gathering is likely to be overshadowed by the deep division among member states, with Japan, the United States and European countries taking a tough stance on Russia over its aggression.

India, which has traditionally maintained close military ties with Russia and has avoided condemning Moscow over the war, has said earlier that it is expecting exchanges among finance ministers and central bank governors on "pragmatic and meaningful approaches to address" some key global economic issues.

Friday's discussions covered increasing debt among emerging economies, as their currencies tend to depreciate against major currencies as developed nations hike interest rates.

The parties are scheduled to hold talks on measures to fight rising prices on Saturday before wrapping up the meeting.

The meeting is jointly chaired by Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das.

The International Monetary Fund projected in its January report that global growth will fall to 2.9 percent in 2023 from 3.4 percent last year, as the rise in central bank interest rates to fight inflation and Russia's war continue to weigh on economic activity.

But the Washington-based lender also highlighted in a recent blog post the strength of the emerging economies, citing that India and China alone are expected to contribute more than half of global growth this year.

The G-20 consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.