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Pranab, Zoellick hold talks, stress on World Bank's continued engagement with India

New Delhi, Sat, 31 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 31 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick held talks here on Saturday, stressing on the value of the bank group's continued engagement with India.

The talks came on the final day of Zoellick's visit to India - his last as president of the World Bank Group.

Mukherjee commended Zoellick's major achievements, and thanked him for his special efforts in increasing engagement of the Bank with India.

He said that India has a long and very fruitful relationship with the bank and valued this relationship while appreciating the bank's support during the last financial crisis.

He thanked Zoellick for the ways in which he strengthened the World Bank, and made it more responsive to client needs and stated that Zoellick has been a true friend of India.

"India still needs large investments for infrastructure as well as for tackling poverty and in addition to securing long tenure development funds from the bank, we draw upon the bank's knowledge base and global expertise in development matters," said Mukherjee.

Zoellick, who steps down as World Bank President at the end of June, said his primary aim in India was to thank the government and its people for its partnership and friendship, adding that he also wanted to lay the groundwork to ensure the momentum of the bank's engagement with India continues in the future.

He further said that he firmly believed that while it's important for the bank to become an even stronger development partner of India in the future, even with India's success, it still has many poor people and faces many challenges of development.

"India is a country with global influence so its deep engagement with the World Bank Group will contribute to modernizing the multilateral system," said Zoellick.

Zoellick added that the bank would seek to offer India additional financing to help overcome poverty and seize the opportunities ahead.

"We are also looking at leveraging funding through the private sector to help India meet its needs, particularly for infrastructure, as part of its quest for sustained and inclusive growth," he added.

Mukherjee and Zoellick also shared their views on developments in the global economy and issues like prices for commodities, such as oil and fertilizers have been affecting the economic prospects of developing countries including India. (ANI)

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