New Delhi: Mexican central banker Agustin Carstens, an aspirant for the top job at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said India’s response to his candidacy was neutral when he called on the country’s top leaders on Friday.
Carstens described his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as “rich” and “substantive”.
French finance minister Christine Lagarde visited India on Tuesday, seeking support for her candidacy to the IMF job. She too met Singh and Mukherjee, and did not get a public assurance.
Admitting that the contest with Lagarde was an “uphill” task, Carstens said Singh and Mukherjee “were completely neutral and said they needed to evaluate all the candidates once they get full information” on them.
The last day for countries to nominate candidates for the position of managing director of IMF, which fell vacant after Dominique Strauss-Kahn quit following charges of sexual assault last month, was Friday. Washington-based IMF has said it will make public the names of all the contenders on 17 June. A new chief is expected to be named by 30 June.
India, along with Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa—the so-called BRICS grouping—had in May objected to the European monopoly over the IMF top post. Since their inception in the mid-1940s, IMF has been headed by Europeans and the World Bank by Americans.
The demand signals the increasing clout of emerging economies in the international financial arena after the 2008-09 global slump that crippled the developed ones. In IMF, BRICS has a vote share of around 15%, the US about 17%, and European nations nearly 35%.
Carstens has not been able to get a clear backing from any advanced or notable emerging economy. In contrast, Lagarde has the public support of a number of European nations, including Germany. South Africa’s former finance minister Trevor Manuel, a probable candidate, ruled himself out of the race.
Carstens said he had no such plan. Instead, he stressed his credentials for the job. “My overall policymaking experience and the years I have spent at the IMF have exposed me not only to emerging market economies, but to advanced and low-income countries as well,” he said.
Listing his priorities, Carstens said there is a need for emerging market economies (EMEs) and developing countries to have a stronger voice and representation in international financial institutions, a need for higher quotas, improving surveillance systems, and appropriate programmes for development of low-income countries.
Reuters contributed to this story.