FM accuses Pakistan, China of slowing India's development

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (UNI) Making out a case for moving fast forward on development, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has blamed its neigbours, primarily Pakistan and China for undertaking activities inimical to India's growth.

Delivering the Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Memorial Lecture here, Mr Chidambaram hit out at Pakistan for "supporting terror activities" and blamed China for its "negative attitude" in the Nuclear Suppliers Group that has raised doubts about its attitude towards the rise of India.

"Within the sub-continent, India is in a troubled neighbourhood," he said.

"From time to time, China takes unpredictable positions that raise a number of questions about its attitude towards the rise of India," he said.

"The nagging doubt is whether China will regard India as an equal or as an upstart and what will be China's attitude to India if India's economic strength begins to equal that of China?" Mr Chidambaram asked.

Mr Chidambaram warned of "new waves of terror" if the alienation of the minority communities was not addressed.

"There is the challenge of alienation of the Muslim community and, more recently, of the Christian community. The divide between Muslims and Hindus is taking new and dangerous forms -- ghettoisation, social boycott, discrimination in employment and the blurring of lines between state and religion as was seen in Gujarat.'' The issue of economic transformation to sustain a high growth was "intricately" related to India's place in the geo-politics of the region.

The ethnic strife in Sri Lanka had pushed thousands of refugees across the Palk Straits into India.

''China will spend 50 billion dollars more each year than India.

This is a large sum of money, equivalent roughly to 1,700 F-16 fighter jets each year," he said.

The Finance Minister also spoke about the failure of the state in Bangladesh that has triggered massive migration to India.

He said the migration from Bangladesh has altered "the demographic profile of many districts in West Bengal and Assam," and put "an enormous strain on India's financial, food and physical resources." "Pakistan is implacably opposed to India: while Kashmir appears to be the central issue of contention, Pakistan has taken its hostility beyond Kashmir and supports terrorist activities and communal conflagrations in other parts of India," he said.

Describing Nepal as "an enigma," the Minister said it was "difficult to predict at this stage the future of India-Nepal relations under a Maoist-led coalition government.'' Saying that time was ripe for much faster development, Mr Chidambaram said this will happen only if the country adopts a model of development that is not weeded to gradualism, that rejects the idea of slow change and promises to deliver transformational change.

UNI GS RR GC2152

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