India warns against protectionism in debt fallout

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