Repatriation of Black Money Key Priority, Says PM Narendra Modi Ahead of G20 Summit

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NewZNew (Brisbane) :  Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that repatriation of black money was a key “priority” for the government, and called for “close coordination” on achieving that objective at a meeting of the five-nation BRICS group just hours ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane in Australia. At the informal interaction, PM Modi said, “Repatriation of black money kept abroad is a key priority for us,” adding that “unaccounted money abroad is also linked to security challenges.”

The meeting was attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, South African President Jacob Zuma and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – accounts for almost half the world’s population and about one-fifth of global economic output.

PM Modi is expected to raise the issue of black money at the G20 summit as well, something he made clear in his departure statement in New Delhi on November 11. “A key issue for me would be to highlight the importance of international cooperation against black money.”

On Friday, summit host Australia vowed a “very aggressive” crackdown on tax avoidance. India is also seeking strong action by the G20 against tax havens. “We are keen to engage with the world community in terms of sharing of information on tax violations… In the G20,India has taken a very pro-active position,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Meadia. PM Modi is also expected to voice his concern over “jobless growth”, stressing that economic growth should also create employment.

The Group of 20 – which comprises 20 of the world’s biggest developed and emerging economies – looks to meet a two per cent increase in its combined growth over five years through economic reform and infrastructure investment. The group accounts for 80 per cent of world trade and 85 per cent of global economic production. Addressing an informal retreat of G20 leaders ahead of the summit, PM Modi also made a strong pitch for reforms which he said should be “people-centic and people-driven”. “Reform is bound to face resistance… must be insulated from political pressures”, the 64-year-old said.

Mr Modi is the first Indian PM to visit Australia in 28 years and is scheduled to visit three other cities – Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne – between November 16 and November 18. In Sydney, Mr Modi will be feted at a reception at the Olympic Park where 16,000 Indian Australians are expected to gather. In Melbourne, he will address about 500 top Australian and Indian CEOs.

In Canberra, PM Modi will hold talks with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who will also host a reception for Mr Modi at the iconic 161-year-old Melbourne Cricket Ground. PM Modi will address a joint sitting of Australia’s Federal Parliament too.