India warns against protectionism in debt fallout

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena (L) and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe gesture as Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake (unseen) presents a supplementary budget to parliament, marking the first economic policy statement of the new government which came to power earlier in the month in Colombo on January 29, 2015. Sri Lanka's new government announced hefty taxes on top companies in a bid to raise revenue, accusing the previous regime of fudging the figures and leaving the economy in a "sad state". AFP PHOTO / Ishara S. KODIKARA (Photo credit should read Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

MUMBAI, November 13, 2011 (AFP) – India warned on Sunday against protectionism as the world grapples with the sovereign debt crisis, portraying itself as a relative haven of stability in troubled economic times. Commerce minister Anand Sharma said India was an influential emerging economy and that the country “will be part of the stabilisation process when it comes to what’s happening in Europe”.

But he warned: “In difficult times, the tendency to look inwards, to have protective measures… is something the G20 must reassure the world that we will not allow that to happen.

“We need it (the G20) to engage more, not going for protectionism because that has happened since 2008-09,” he told delegates at the India Economic Summit in Mumbai.

“We must first put in place a multilateral trading system by completing the ongoing WTO (World Trade Organisation) negotiation (and) correct historical imbalances to make this order more equitable and more accessible.”

Hundreds of international policymakers and industry leaders have converged in the financial hub for the annual summit, hoping that India can provide a rare chink of light as the global economy falters.

India emerged relatively unsca