Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India is not in the race to become the next China in terms of growth. Instead, the Prime Minister says he believes that both the countries are growing rapidly and the current era belongs to them. Modi, who will visit the United States next week, said he was confident that India and US would be able to develop a genuine strategic alliance as there were a lot in common between the two societies — Americans have absorbed people from across the world and Indians are present in every part of the world — as they are bound by history and culture and the ties would deepen further.
In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Modi said that he has full faith in the unlimited entrepreneurial talent and capabilities of 1.25-billion Indians and has a clear road map to channel it. “It is my absolute belief that Indians have unlimited talent. I have no doubt about our capabilities. I have a lot of faith in the entrepreneurial nature of our 1.25-billion people. There is a lot of capability. And I have a clear road map to channelise it,” he said when asked whether India can match the kind of 8-9% growth rates China has achieved consistently for 30 years while India has done for only a short period of time.
On whether India would be the next China in terms of growth and transform the world, Modi said: “India does not need to become anything else. India must become only India. This is a country which once upon a time was called ‘the golden bird’. We have fallen from where we were before. But now we have a chance to rise again. If you see the details of the last five or ten centuries, you will see that India and China have grown at similar paces. Their contributions to global GDP have risen in parallel, and fallen in parallel. Today’s era once again belongs to Asia. India and China are both growing rapidly, together”.
Modi also dismissed the oft-repeated hypothesis that China’s growth has been faster because it has authoritarian government while being a democracy India has its constraints. “If China is one example, then democratic countries provide another example. They have also grown fast. You can’t say that growth is not possible because of democracy. Democracy is our commitment. It is our great legacy, a legacy we simply cannot compromise. Democracy is in our DNA,” Modi said.
On whether he wished he also had some power and authority like that of the Chinese government, Modi responded in the negative by stating that he’s seen the strength of democracy. “If there were no democracy, then someone like me, Modi, a child born in a poor family, how would he sit here? This is the strength of democracy.”
To the question that though many people in the US and some in India wished that the two countries were much closer allies but there have been friction and difficulties, the Prime Minister said he was confident that a strategic alliance would be built between the two countries because they had much in common.
“There are many similarities between India and America. If you look at the last few centuries, two things come to light. America has absorbed people from around the world and there is an Indian in every part of the world. This characterises both the societies. Indians and Americans have coexistence in their natural temperament. Now, yes, for sure, there have been ups and downs in our relationship in the last century. But from the end of the 20th century to the first decade of the 21st century, we have witnessed a big change. Our ties have deepened. India and the US are bound together, by history and by culture. These ties will deepen further”.
On the issue of crime against women in India, Modi said that dignity of women “is our collective responsibility” and there should be no compromise in this matter and no erosion in the law and order situation.
“We have to revive the family culture in which a woman is respected and considered equal, her dignity encouraged. The main thing is education for the girl child. By doing so, the possibility of women empowerment will increase. On August 15, my government pushed ahead a movement called: educate the girl, save the girl.”
fe Bureau | The Financial Express