Business Standard (India)
By Lalit K Jha/ PTI / Washington
June 19, 2009

In what could be seen as a softening of India’s stand on restarting the Doha talks, commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said New Delhi is ready for "give and take" without being "frozen in pre-negotiating position" in the interest of global trade.

After his wide-ranging talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk in the last two days, Sharma said here yesterday, harmonisation of country positions in the WTO can be achieved.

"That could only be done by give and take to find the middle route. That is what we intend to do. It is achievable," he said. Sharma said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted the current round of talks to conclude successfully.

"That is the mandate I have from the Prime Minister, who feels that the present economic crisis – which the world is facing – should be a positive message for global trade barriers to be broken down further and global trade to move, which will help economies across the globe," he said.

The Doha Round of talks, started in 2001, were stalled in July 2008 amid differences between the US and India, representing the developing world.

India had demanded adequate protection for farmers while the US sought market access for its farm produce in the developing countries.

Sharma, who described the Doha negotiations to be in the last lap of a 25-mile marathon, said he has got a feeling President Barack Obama shares the views of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"I am sure that President Obama wishes the same, and that’s the feeling I got from Ron Kirk.

"When political leaders discuss issues, they paint the larger canvass and are not bogged down by smaller details. If you have the larger picture in mind and you are committed to take it forward the details can always be filled," he said.