Kishore Mahbubani said in an article in the Global Times Monday that Mahatma Gandhi rejuvenated India's soul, which had been battered by colonialism, the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru established its democratic political culture, and Modi now must lay the foundation for India's emergence as a global economic power.
Pinning hopes on Modi, who achieved 10 percent annual growth rate in Gujarat when he was chief minister, Mahbubani, dean and professor in the practice of public policy at the National University of Singapore, said the prime minister can accelerate India's development prospects if he can introduce some reforms.
He added that achieving such a high growth rate in a sustainable way will demand far-reaching, painful reforms, such as the removal of wasteful subsidies, especially on fuel, in order to free up resources.
He suggested that other imperatives for the Modi government will include shrinking the budget deficit, removing internal barriers to trade and encouraging private investment.
Mahbubani also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping, Modi and Indonesia's President-elect Joko "Jokowi" Widodo can change the dynamics of Asia.