International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Christine Lagarde has done well to send out a clear warning that the strengthening global economic recovery could be hindered by a rising tide of protectionism. Her statement comes not too long after the G20 communique on the global economy very consciously did not mention the risks from protectionism, in all probability under pressure from the Donald Trump administration in the US. The spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank are due to begin next week.
Meanwhile, the French presidential elections begin later this month. National Front leader Marine Le Pen would like France to turn away from globalism. She has been gaining in the polls though it is not yet clear she will win the top job in Paris. Germany under Angela Merkel is now the only leader of a major European power that is fully committed to an open global trading system.
India needs to use its growing heft to unequivocally back Lagarde in the coming Fund-Bank meetings because protectionism is not in its national interest.