Indian PM Modi urges G20 to focus on unsustainable debt


New Delhi (Reuters) – The financial viability of many countries is being threatened by unsustainable debt, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, as he called for the Group of 20 (G20) to focus on the world’s most vulnerable citizens.

Trust in international financial institutions has eroded, partly because the lenders had been slow to reform themselves, Modi said in a video message at the beginning of a two-day meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors.

“Food and energy security have become major concerns across the world. Even the financial viability of many countries is threatened by unsustainable debt levels,” Modi said.

The meeting at a hill resort on the outskirts of the tech hub of Bengaluru is the first major event of India’s G20 presidency and coincided with the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Modi alluded to.

“We are also witnessing rising geo-political tensions in different parts of the world. There are disruptions in global supply chains. Many societies are suffering due to rising prices,” Modi said in his address to delegates.

India’s presidency of the bloc comes as neighbouring South Asian countries Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan have been seeking bailouts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to an economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict.

Reuters reported last week that India is drafting a proposal for G20 countries to help debtor nations by asking lenders, including China, the world’s largest sovereign creditor, to take a large haircut, or accept losses, on loans.

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