India does not commit support to Lagarde for IMF Chief post

New Delhi: India has not given any commitment to French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde who is here to seek support for her candidature to the post of Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On a day long visit to India, Lagarde met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in this regard.

"There is no assurance (on supporting Christine Lagarde).

We are working on a consensus," Mukherjee said after meeting Lagarde here in the capital.

The French Minister, however, said that she had fruitful meetings with Indian leaders.

"We had an excellent meeting and we were able to review quite a few issues concerning the current status of the Indian economy as well as my own perspective to the candidacy for the post of Managing Director of the IMF", she told reporters.

Referring to her meeting with Mukherjee, she said, "I am deeply moved by his attention…his affection, because we do share a lot and we do have a high esteem for each other and that clearly indicates the very deep relationship between France and India".

India, however, has not yet firmed up its position on selection of new IMF chief`s post which fell vacant following exit of Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is facing charges in a sexual assault case.

On the possibility of India supporting a candidate from the BRICS nation, Mukherjee said, "it would be difficult to say at this moment because there was divergence of views in respect of South African candidature. So it is not possible to say whether there will be a common candidate or not".

As regards the candidature of Mexican central bank Governor Agustin Carstens, Mukherjee said he is "a competent person. We are also in discussions with them".

India, Mukherjee said, "wants election of Managing Director of IMF to be on the basis of merit and competence and to be held in a transparent manner and not on any particular nationality. There should be a consensus".

Historically, the post of IMF Managing Director has been held by a European while the World Bank is headed by a US nominee.

Earlier, the BRICS nations–Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa– had issued a joint statement in Washington questioning the methodology of selection of IMF chief on the basis of nationality.

"The convention that the selection of the Managing Director is made, in practice, on the basis of nationality undermines the legitimacy of the fund," Executive Directors representing the BRICS had said in a statement.

Earlier, talking to reporters, Japanese Deputy Minister (Economy), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shinichi Nishimiya said, "We take the view as agreed by the G-20, that this would be an open and merit-based competitive process… I am not looking for any particular candidate".

He, however, said Japan has no intention of putting up any candidate for the post.