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from The Great Debate:

India poll should boost world trade

Paul Taylor Great Debate-- Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

India's voters have just given stalled world trade talks their biggest potential boost since the financial crisis spurred fears of rising protectionism.

By handing the governing Congress party a decisive victory, unshackled from the Communist party, Indians have created a chance to break a deadlock in negotiations on global commerce that foundered last year on a U.S.-Indian spat over farm trade.

Trade Minister Kamal Nath, whose dogged defence of India's small farmers helped sink the talks, told Reuters on Sunday: "We believe that it is even more important to conclude the Doha round as one of the measures to extricate the global economic from going into a tailspin, and India is willing to play a leadership role in this."

The unexpectedly clear Indian vote coincides with signs that U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, after striking a protectionist tone to appease blue-collar voters, is warming to completing a World Trade Organisation accord. In recent speeches Obama has rightly identified trade as key to pulling the world out of recession.