By Ashok Dixit
Onboard Air India One, Jan 16 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said that the world will respect an India that is strong and which is not meek, and in this regard, welcomed the revision of the Sino-India trade target from 40 billion U.S. dollars to 60 billion dollars to be achieved by 2010.
Speaking onboard Air India One while returning from Beijing after a successful three-day official visit, Dr. Singh said: "If India is strong economically, politically, socially, the world will respect us more and more, and will take note of our concerns. Our economy is doing very well in recent years. The growth rate of nine percent per annum, the growth in our industry like IT, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology are convincing more and more countries in the world that engaging India is in their interest."
Commenting on the trade deficit and India's resistance to global recessionary trends from a structural point of view, Dr. Singh said: "India's development is propelled by our domestic demand, and that is therefore a positive factor. If India's macro-economic policy maintains a high-level of domestic demand, then there is a good chance that we will not be affected by world trends in the same way the countries which are more dependent on trade might be affected."
Stating that engaging with China in all fields was a "historic necessity", Dr. Singh said that he was impressed with the "wisdom and knowledge of the Chinese leadership, and added that China is hugely dependent on trade for its survival in a competitive global environment.
As far as India's trade deficit with China was concerned, the Prime Minister said that he had told Indian businessmen that this deficit has to be corrected, and could only be corrected by building up the strength of the Indian industry.
He further said that there is elements in tax policy, in public policy that hurt the competitiveness of the Indian industry, and committed his government to addressing those concerns, but beyond that, he added that Indian industry must think big.
"It is nothing new. In 1991, the big barons took to the Bombay Plan' to start the reform process, but now look at the new, very confident class of entrepreneurs who are the children of the reform process. I am confident that given a proper macro-economic environment, Indian industry has the ability, the will and the resilience to meet the challenge of competition in India, from other third world countries and China," he said.