Ugandan President regrets policies of former ruler, praises India

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Kampala, Nov 24 (UNI) Regretting the decision of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin for uprooting over 60,000 Indians in 1970s that ruined the economy of the country, Ugandan President Kaguta Museveni has said the mistake of interfering with the private sector through nationalisation paralysed economy of this African nation.

''In case of Uganda, Amin went further to physically uproot the immigrant Indian community, who formed the bulk of the entrepreneurial class at that time in Uganda,'' Mr Museveni said in his speech at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting(CHOGM), which was being attended by a galaxy of world leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The summit was inaugurated by Queez Elizabeth of Britain and is being attended by Presidents, Prime Ministers and other diginatories of over 50 nations.

He said many African leaders made the mistake of interfering with the private sector through nationalisation of private business as well as other forms of interference.

Dictator Amin gave three months period to the Indian community to leave the country and most of them fled to Britain and other European nations. This led to steep decline in economy of Uganda.

However, when Mr Museveni came to power, he urged the Indian community as well as other Asians to return, but only 2,000 Indians came back and re-started their business in Uganada.

Praising Indian leaders for their pragmatic approach, he said ''big internal market of India, judiciously utilised by the visionary leaders since independence, helped to reorient the Indian community from being purely agricultural to being industrial as well.'' ''When in early 90s India opened up its economy by participating more in the international market, its economy was strong enough to face the onslaught and challenges posed by alraedy developed Western economies.'' said the Ugandan President.

The President said he took the initiative in Africa in ''detecting and correcting mistakes'' committed by many African leaders in 1960s and 1970s. As a result of these measures the economy of Uganda was growing at the rate of six per cent per annum.

He said some of the countries were able to transform and reform their economies before the Second World War. The other transformed after gaining independence in the 1940s or later like India, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa, he added.

UNI

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