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Strengthening FATF India's top focus at G20: India's Sherpa Shaktikanta Das to WION

Argentina will host this year's G20 summit from November 30 to December 1. (Image source: @g20org) Photograph:( Twitter )

WION Buenos Aires, Argentina Nov 30, 2018, 06.37 AM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Ahead of the big G20 summit in Argentina, India's sherpa or chief negotiator Shaktikanta Das has spoken to WION's Principal diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal. He said India will speak on the issue of terror, strengthening of Financial Action Task Force and bringing to book fugitive economic offenders.

On FATF a political message will be sent and it is not just passing laws to deal with terror but the actual implementation of FATF principals required by all countries.

India will also raise the issue of economic offenders in fellow G20 countries. This is on the basis of Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya having a safe haven in the UK.

WION: What will be India's focus at this years G20 Summit?

Shaktikanta Das: India wants G20 to focus on the main challenges confronting the world. The main challenges are not just emanating from trade conflict, tariff conflict between certain big economies. This is a problem. Entire G20 should not be hijacked by the single current problem. There are other issues as well as Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs of 2030, how to deal with the problem of artificial intelligence and job creation. These are bigger challenges which G20 should focus on and we have been emphasising that while we should discuss trade issues and find a resolution on trade tariff issue, the focus should be on a wide range of issues as well. 

WION: What is the relevance of G20 today and 10 years after the leaders' summit in 2008?

Shaktikanta Das: G20 became very active and proactive from 2008. In the last 10 years, if we look back to see what it has achieved in terms of outcomes, the first G20 summit saw agreements among leaders to take coordinated measures for the revival of the global economy. So, the kind of problems confronting the world in 2008 were contained in subsequent years. The first tangible outcomes of the G20 summits after 2008 is how to deal with global economic challenges. Number two is the monetary policy action of the developed countries. We saw monetary expansion post-2008.  After they started withdrawing, there was a flight of capital from emerging economies to developed countries. Known popularly were taper tantrums. Thanks to G20 leaders who prevailed upon to spell-out in advance, a calibrated response in the withdrawal of monetary expansion policies so that the rest of the economies or rest of the world economies don't suffer. The third outcome is quota reforms at IMF. So, a lot of outcomes. 

WION: What will be the India story at G20 summit in Argentina?

Shaktikanta Das: You see achievement which India has accomplished in the last few years have been widely appreciated and widely recognised. I can tell you from my experience. Naturally, when PM attends the summit, discussions will happen and these things will be refocused. India is looked on as a major global power and not just another G20 country. When India talks, it talks as a major global player who is trying to resolve major global issues such as the issue of terrorism. In Hamburg, our PM came out on an 11-point agenda to deal with the problem of terrorism. That has been accepted and the stand-alone statement was issued. 

WION: How big will be the issue of terror for India?

Shaktikanta Das: India will focus on the issue of terrorism and terror financing. Making FATF more active and ensuring universal implementation of its rules. Not just passing laws to deal with terror but the actual implementation of FATF principals by all countries. Our focus will be on terrorism, terrorism financing, on unaccounted money and unaccounted flow what we call as black money. As you are aware, the prime minister had made an initiative in Brisbane summit and following this, we have multilateral agreements on sharing of information between countries. It's already implemented and countries are sharing information. India has a big story to tell in the fight against black money and India would like further action on that front. There is also need for greater cooperation on economic offence and problem of the fugitive economic offender. Economic offences have posed a major threat to the global economy and can undermine the economic stability of global economy 

WION: So India will be raising the issue of economic offenders?

Shaktikanta Das: This has been discussed in meetings of Sherpas during Argentina presidency. The importance of the issue is now recognised by everyone. India is keen on the need for the energy security of emerging economies especially on the issue of stability of oil prices and oil supplies. India will focus on infrastructure and will be also keen on the resolution of trade issue which is an issue between two largest economies in the world.

India would like to play a constructive role so that they discuss the issue. Trade issues if allowed to continue, would have an impact on global growth. When global growth slows down, it impacts poor people. 

WION: Compliance of FATF norms will also be raised?

Shaktikanta Das: Usually, G20 leaders give a strong political message on certain issues. Today, there is unanimity among all G20 countries that terror is a big threat to the world community and it has to be dealt with effectively. So FATF, its for the leaders to spell out what kind of appeal, or political message they would like to give to it. FATF has been playing a very significant role. One must recognize how to further strengthen the implementation of FATF standards by non-compliant countries and jurisdictions

WION: India has been doing a lot on climate change. How much will that be the focus?

Shaktikanta Das: India has been appealing to countries to join the International Solar Alliance. There has been a good progress. The PM has played important role in COP0-21 negotiations in Paris. Therefore, India would like to stress that the Paris agreement should be implemented. India has a lot of things to tell... we have a strong story to tell. India would like other countries to join the ISA. There was a commitment on climate finance by developed countries... that from 2020, developed countries will provide 100 million dollars in the form of climate finance. We don't see much progress. It's an important part of the Paris climate accord

WION: Cryptocurrency or bitcoin has been another issue of concern.

Shaktikanta Das: India's position has been spelt out by the Finance Minister in the last budget. He has cautioned people. It has the potential to become another Ponzi scheme. Understand it has been discussed in the finance track of G20. This is something that has to be dealt with very carefully.

WION: India has always been raising the issue of black money. Do we expect it to be raised this time since it aligns with the domestic agenda?

Shaktikanta Das: Our PM had talked about it during the Brisbane summit. During the successive summit, India has been focussing on greater coordination. India has enacted its own law on assets outside the country. India has been able to renegotiate tax treaties with Mauritius, Singapore. Fighting the menace of black money has been on India's focus.

WION: Connectivity has become a geopolitical currency but with it comes debt issue. What has been G20's stand?

Shaktikanta Das: Some countries have been raising issues. These are bilateral or regional issues. The issue of sustainable debt does come up.

WION: Big political picture India will be presenting? 

Shaktikanta Das: India is playing an important role in G20 and Indian participation is very proactive. The PM is playing a very proactive role at the summit. There is a need to activate other forums like the WTO.

WTO should play a greater role on trade issues, FATF on the terror issue. You have the United Nations. The relevance of the United Nations cant belittled. Poor countries have a voice at the United Nation. All multilateral forums -- UN, WTO, IMF -- need to be activated.

WION: When will India host G20?  

Shaktikanta Das: You will get to know when it will be announced.

Story highlights

Ahead of the high-voltage G20 summit in Argentina, India's sherpa or chief negotiator Shaktikanta Das spok to WION's Principal diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal. He said India will speak on the issue of terror, strengthening of Financial Action Task Force and bringing to book fugitive economic offenders.