Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman being received by Ambassador of India to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, in Washington DC, on April 10, 2023.
| Photo Credit: PTI
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on April 9, 2023, began a weeklong visit to Washington DC for the World Bank-IMF spring meetings, as well as for other bilateral and multilateral interactions.
High on the Minister’s agenda is the second G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting, which India is hosting as part of its yearlong presidency of the group. Ms Sitharaman will also hold high-level talks with her American counterpart, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, on April 11, 2023.
The Finance Minister and RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das will co-chair the FMCBG meet on Wednesday and Thursday, and host some 350 G20 delegates plus representatives of 13 invitee countries as well as regional and international organisations, according to a government press release.
This week’s G20 meeting will have three sessions: Global Economy and International Financial Architecture; Sustainable Finance, Financial Sector and Financial Inclusion; and International Taxation.
The last FMCBG meeting was held in Bangalore in February, and was witness to tensions around discussions and communication about the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It ended without consensus on the language about the war (Russia and China had objections). India then issued a Chair’s summary and outcome document, rather than a joint communique.
This week’s sessions will seek to cover core interests of the government: food and energy security, managing global debt vulnerabilities, strengthening Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), mobilising finance for climate action, financial inclusion, etc. However, the Russia-Ukraine war continues to remain a pressing issue and it is likely to cast its shadow on many of this week’s meetings in Washington. The G20 meetings will also lay the groundwork for the next FMCBG meeting , which will be held in Gandhinagar in July this year.
Ms Sitharaman was received by India’s U.S. Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu at Union Station, Washington DC, on Sunday. She also met with Param Iyer, the new India-nominated Executive Director at the World Bank, and his IMF counterpart, Krishnamurthy Subramanian.
As part of the Spring Meetings, Ms Sitharaman will attend the IMF’s Finance Committee meeting and the World Bank’s Development Committee meeting; these are the highest decision making bodies of both organisations.
Some of the other events on Ms Sitharaman’s calendar include a public discussion at the Peterson Institute, a meeting on debt restructuring in Sri Lanka (April 13), sessions on female entrepreneurship, behavioural change to tackle the climate crisis, the Indian experience of digital public infrastructure and macro-financial implications of crypto assets.