India not committed to Lagarde for IMF job



New Delhi: India Tuesday refrained from assuring support to French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde for her candidature for the top post at IMF, even as she said she has received "positive views" from New Delhi.

On a day-long visit here, Lagarde met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia seeking support for realising her bid to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"There is no assurance (on supporting Christine Lagarde). We are working on a consensus," Mukherjee said after meeting Lagarde.

The French minister said she had fruitful meetings with Indian leaders.

"I have demonstrated my merits ...They expressed positive views about my credentials and they are willing to consider my candidature," she told a news channel.

She supported India's case for increased representation in the IMF.

Even as New Delhi did not give any assurance to Lagarde, it said no consensus candidate has emerged from BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).

"It would be difficult to say at this moment because there was divergence of views in respect of South African candidature. So, it is not possible to say whether there will be a common candidate or not (among BRICS nations)", Mukherjee said.

IMF top post was vacated by Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is facing charges in a sexual assault case.

As regards the candidature of Mexican central bank Governor Agustin Carstens, Mukherjee said he is "a competent person. We are also in discussions with them".

Carstens is visiting India on Friday seeking support for his candidature.

After her discussions with Ahluwalia, Lagarde said, "We had an excellent meeting and we were able to review quite a few issues concerning the current status of the Indian economy as well as my own perspective to the candidacy for the post of Managing Director of the IMF."

Referring to her meeting with the Finance Minister, she said, "I am deeply moved by his attention.... his affection, because we do share a lot and we do have a high esteem for each other and that clearly indicates the very deep relationship between France and India."

However, Mukherjee said India "wants election of Managing Director of IMF to be on the basis of merit and competence and to be held in a transparent manner and not on any particular nationality. There should be a consensus".

Agreeing with him, Lagarde said, "The process should be open and transparent.... Nationality or region of origin should not be privileged or prejudiced you in any way."

Historically, the post of IMF Managing Director has been held by a European while the World Bank is headed by a US nominee.

Earlier, the BRICS nations--Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-- had issued a joint statement in Washington questioning the methodology of selection of IMF chief on the basis of nationality.

Earlier, talking to reporters, Japanese Deputy Minister (Economy), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shinichi Nishimiya said, "We take the view as agreed by the G-20, that this would be an open and merit-based competitive process... I am not looking for any particular candidate."

He, however, said Japan has no intention of putting up a candidate for the post.

PTI