Oxford chancellor for Montek as IMF head

Oxford: The chancellor of the University of Oxford, Lord Chris Patten, wants India’s Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia to be the next Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Speaking at the launch event of the Sanjaya Lall Visiting Professorship of Business and Development at the Said Business School yesterday evening, Mr. Patten said he had “nothing against Christine Lagarde” the French Finance Minister currently in the running for the job — but wished Mr. Ahluwalia to be the next IMF Managing Director.

During a recent visit to Africa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mooted the idea that the next head of IMF should be from the non-western world, an idea that found support from China and other countries.

Recalling long—standing ties between the University of Oxford and India, Mr. Patten said the university was proud to have produced two leading economists who had steered India’s economy in recent decades: Dr. Singh and Mr. Ahluwalia.

It was a “source of great pride,” he said, that the study of Indian history and economics was an important field of scholarship at Oxford.

After studying at Oxford, many Indians had returned to build the “greatest democracy”, he added.

The university has organised its first Oxford-India Day on June 17.

The event will bring together Oxford scholars with a select group of Indian business, academic, and policy leaders for a day of discussions and celebration at the University.