While India continues to maintain an almost deafening silence on the issue of a consensus candidate from the developing nations to head the International Monetary Fund, signs are emerging that it is getting active behind the scenes.
Citing two unnamed finance ministry sources, a Reuters report today said Asia's third-largest economy is working with other emerging economies to build a consensus behind one candidate. Former South African finance minister Trevor Manuel could emerge as the choice of the group, one of the sources said.
Various reports indicate that other emerging economies too are trying to find a candidate to oppose the front-runner, French finance minister Christine Lagarde, behind whom western Europe has solidly united.
Almost since inception, the IMF has been headed by a European and the World Bank by a US candidate in an unwritten convention. However, this time the global lender had promised a merit-based process to replace former director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of France, who was arrested and had to resign in the wake of a sex scandal last week.
Reuters says India's representative to the IMF, former chief economic adviser to the finance ministry Arvind Virmani, has been asked by New Delhi to explore a consensus among emerging economies on a candidate.
Meanwhile, another report suggests that India's silence is part of a deliberate strategy, as it is holding its cards close to its chest.
''We are watching and analysing these events and will come out with our decision very soon,'' the Hindustan Times quoted an unnamed senior official as saying. ''What is the point of putting forward names when we don't know who is in the field?''