• Wednesday, May 29, 2024


An Indian as next IMF chief? British parliamentary panel voices support

Christine Lagarde formally submitted her resignation earlier this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By: Keerthi Mohan

An influential British parliamentary panel has written to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to engage with New Delhi to try and seek out the next IMF chief from India.

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) referenced its recently-released report on reawakening India-UK ties as the base for enhancing bilateral engagement over the crucial appointment of a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director, as its current chief Christine Lagarde formally submitted her resignation earlier this week.

“To defend the international system today, we must look to select leaders for international organisations from across the nations that now represent the major economies, not just those who have traditionally held these posts,” FAC Chair Tom Tugendhat writes in his letter to UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

“The Foreign Affairs Committee’s recent report on India, Building Bridges: Reawakening UK-India ties, highlighted the strength of relationships between the UK and India, and the potential for growth. This would suggest that engagement with New Delhi may provide a candidate that the UK could support,” he said.

The committee’s report, released to mark UK-India Week last month, had called for a recognition of the mismatch between India’s global importance and its status in multilateral organisations.

“A candidate from outside Europe or America would offer a new perspective and the UK’s backing of such a nominee would help strengthen its position as the key defender of the rules-based system while updating it for a modern era,” notes Tugendhat, who led the Global Britain and India inquiry that resulted in the FAC report.

He asked Hunt, currently also in a race to be the next British prime minister against Boris Johnson, for a commitment to support a candidate from outside Europe and lobby other democratic governments about the possibility of supporting a candidate from a country that has not historically held such a post.

The FCO said the UK government policy relating to the IMF falls within the remit of the UK’s Treasury Department.

“The UK is committed to an open, merit-based and transparent process for selecting the next IMF MD. We look forward to engaging fully in the process agreed by the board, including ensuring that a range of suitably qualified candidates come forward and are assessed against the agreed criteria,” a UK government spokesperson said.

The IMF, headquartered in the US capital, Washington DC, is a multilateral organisation working towards fostering global monetary cooperation and financial stability.

Lagarde, a French lawyer, triggered the hunt for a successor as she eyes the post of president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

The IMF has said it will provide details of the executive board’s process of selecting a new managing director in due course, with American official David Lipton serving as acting managing director in the meantime.


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