PM to take final call on his participation in Bush summit

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On Board Air India One, Oct 26 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he had not yet decided as to whether to attend the summit of world leaders that US President George Bush had convened for November 15 to discuss financial markets and the global economy in the context of the raging turmoil.

''I have an invitation from Mr Bush. In fact, he spoke to me while I was in Tokyo two days ago,'' he told mediapersons on board his special aircraft on his way back home from his five-day tour of Japan and China late last night.

Dr Singh said he also discussed this issue with Chinese President Hu Jintao during their bilateral talks in Beijing yesterday.

''I will take a final call after discussing this with my colleagues,'' he said in reply to persistent questions on whether he would participate in the summit being attended by the leaders of the Group of 20 countries.

The summit is convened to review progress being made to address the current financial crisis, advance a common understanding of its causes, and in order to avoid a repetition, agree on a common set of principles for reform of the regulatory, and institutional regimes for the world's financial sectors, he added.

India is one of the members of the G-20, which includes key developed and emerging market countries, and was established in 1999 after the last financial crisis with worldwide implications.

Asked to elucidate his remarks made at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Beijing yesterday that Indian economy was bound to experience the pain of the global financial crisis sooner or later, Dr Singh said it all depended on how long it would take the world community to restore the confidence of the global financial markets.

''We are not in complete control. There are bigger players and we are victims of that,'' he said while asserting that ''the crisis is not of our making.'' ''It is a crisis that originated in the US and Europe. The type of integrated world economy we live in, we are not immune and I had mentioned in Parliament earlier this week on Monday and I repeated that same sentiment in Beijing.'' Asked what steps that his government had taken to insulate India against global financial crisis, Dr Singh said he could not say it had bottomed out.

In this context, he said he had forecast a global financial turbulence at the last ASEAN meeting, where Chinese President Hu Jintao was also present.

''I had said that the world is sitting on a very dangerous material. I had also said when we meet next year we will be discussing a global financial crisis.'' Understanding that concern, he said he had been saying for the last 18 months that there were clouds on the horizons which, if not tackled properly, could create trouble for the global economy.

''But as far as our economy is concerned, we have built social safety nets, the very fact that we have today an employment guarantee programme in all rural areas, the fact that we have given handsome prices to our farmers, the fact that we have widened the social security net.'' MORE UNI SH SBA BST0807

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