NEW DELHI, March 30, 2012 - Indian Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee and the World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick held talks in New Delhi today, with both sides stressing the value of the Bank Group’s continued engagement with India.
The talks came on the final day of Zoellick’s visit to India – his last as President of the World Bank Group.
Minister Mukherjee commended the major achievements of President Zoellick, and thanked him for his special efforts in increasing engagement of the Bank with India.
“We have a long and very fruitful relationship with the Bank. We value this relationship, and also appreciate the Bank’s support during the last financial crisis. Above all, we thank Mr. Zoellick for the ways in which he strengthened the World Bank, and made it more responsive to client needs. He has been a true friend of India. India still needs large investments for infrastructure as well as for tackling poverty. In addition to securing long tenure development funds from the Bank, we draw upon the Bank’s knowledge base and global expertise in development matters,” Minister Mukherjee said.
For his part, Zoellick, who steps down as World Bank President at the end of June, said his primary aim in India was to thank the Government and its people for their partnership and friendship, adding that he also wanted to lay the groundwork to ensure the momentum of the Bank’s engagement with India continues in the future.
“I firmly believe that it’s important for the Bank to become an even stronger development partner of India in the future,“ Zoellick said. “Even with India’s success, it still has many poor people and faces many challenges of development. At the same time, India is a country with global influence so its deep engagement with the World Bank Group will contribute to modernizing the multilateral system. India, the Bank, and the world all stand to benefit. The Bank will seek to offer India additional financing to help overcome poverty and seize the opportunities ahead. We are also looking at leveraging funding through the private sector to help India meet its needs, particularly for infrastructure, as part of its quest for sustained and inclusive growth. And we are keen to explore innovative ways to help India support regional integration that will benefit all the countries involved.”
Miniter Mukherjee appreciated the willingness of the Bank for a stronger engagement with India and also the offer of looking at creative ways to enhance flow of resources from the Bank Group to India.
Minister Mukherjee and President Zoellick also shared their views on developments in the global economy and issues like prices for commodities, such as oil and fertilizers have been affecting the economic prospects of developing countries including India.