Telling Indian-origin foreign MPs that India was taking great strides economically, the PM said there had been an FDI inflow $60 billion in 2016-17.
New Delhi: In what observers see as veiled criticism of the Chinese development assistance model in other countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said India’s model of giving development aid was not based on “give and take”. Addressing foreign parliamentarians of Indian origin from across the globe, Mr Modi also said India does not covet the territory of other countries, nor does it wish to exploit the resources of others. This comment was made as China is furthering its economic influence in South Asian countries, including Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, resulting in China bagging huge projects amid the skyrocketing debts of some of these nations. The reference to India not eyeing the territory of other nations is also being seen in the context of Chinese territorial disputes with several countries, including Japan, a few Southeast Asian countries and India.
Speaking at the first-ever Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Parliamentarian Conference in New Delhi organised by the external affairs ministry, Mr Modi pitched strong economic “reform for transformation” and “far-reaching policy reforms” as the path on which his government was taking the country forward. He said his government firmly believed in respect for all faiths and sects (“Sarva panth, sama bhava” — which translates as respect for all sects and faiths), pointing to the country’s “inclusive philosophy”, as seen in the slogan “Sabka saath, sabka vikas” (taking everyone along, with progress for all).
The New Delhi conference was attended by over 130 MPs and mayors from the Indian diaspora worldwide in 23 nations, including Britain, the United States, Canada, Kenya, Tanzania, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, New Zealand, Guyana, Fiji, and Trinidad and Tobago.
“Our model of giving development aid is not based on give and take,” Mr Modi said, adding: “India is that country which has always played a constructive role in the world arena. We do not measure our policy towards any nation on the basis of profit or loss but view it through the prism of human values.” The PM added: “We neither have the intention of exploiting anyone’s resources nor do we eye anyone’s territory. Our focus has always been on capacity-building and resource development.”
Mr Modi further said: “If there is any ideology to counter extremism and radicalism, it is Gandhian ideals and Indian values.” Coming in the wake of criticism in some quarters about a majoritarian consolidation, Mr Modi’s statement is seen as a move to reassure everyone globally that India remains firmly committed to respecting all faiths. He said the country had moved much ahead of the cynicism that existed earlier, abandoning the “chalta hai” attitude and the belief that nothing would change.
Telling Indian-origin foreign MPs that India was taking great strides economically, the PM said there had been an FDI inflow $60 billion in 2016-17. He also spoke of the fact that the country had improved tremendously in the “ease of doing business” in global rankings and had improved its ranking by 42 places in the past three years. He also spoke about improvements in the “Global Competitiveness Index, Global Innovation Index and Logistics Performance Index”, adding that financial institutions like the World Bank and IMF as well as rating agencies like Moody’s were viewing India in a much more positive light now. The PM also mentioned the benefits of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“In our economy, we are bringing far-reaching policy reforms. Reform to transform is our guiding principle,” he said. He also spoke of the various economic steps his government had taken which e said had benefited the poor and youth, referring to flagship programmes like Skill India, Start-up India, Stand-up India and Mudra Yojana schemes.
“Welcome to India, Welcome Home!” Mr Modi told the Indian-origin MPs, as he lavished praise on them saying the country was proud of their achievements overseas. He also hailed the gathering in front of him as a “mini-Parliament”.