India’s hard and soft power is truly represented by its sustained economic growth. This is the key to India’s future. Economies of both east and southeast Asia have transformed themselves within one generation, said Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer (CEO), NITI Aayog.
Kant was delivering a keynote address at the inaugural event of the Militaria 2021 held at Hotel Narain Niwas Palace in Jaipur on Saturday.
“India has witnessed a substantial transformation over 30 years since 1991 with an average growth of 6.5 per cent per annum. Going ahead, investment levels and sustained economic growth is critical for security reasons. What the country has done as a fallout of the Covid pandemic is ushering in radical reforms across a range of sectors. The private sector needs to be brought in at the heart of India’s economic growth,” said Kant.
He added that pushing India towards a high growth trajectory is a key challenge. Global Economic Growth is expected to rebound about 5.5 per cent after (-)3.5 per cent in 2020 which has been the worst since post-World War.
Kant further said that Covid-19 will likely reverse the trend of poverty alleviation. Global debt is at unprecedented levels. Global debt which was about 300 per cent is now at about 370 per cent. Global trade decline is estimated at 7 per cent in 2020. China is the only major economy in the world to see positive GDP growth in 2020. Its share in global GDP will rise even further. In the last two decades, China has gained tremendous market power in many key sectors like steel, aluminium and pharmaceuticals.
Earlier, ex-home secretary, Government of India, R Mehrishi said, “Most conferences and TV channel discussions, when they talk about India’s internal and external security, fail to talk about the need for India’s economic growth and examining how strong the country’s economy is. In the face of the recent China confrontation, we used three elements —armed forces, trade measures and diplomacy to face the challenge posed to us.”
He added that all these elements require the backing of a strong economy. In these days of technology, one has to be better and smarter equipped, and the technical competency will depend on the budget one has. India spends a little over 2 per cent on its defence that translates into ₹5 Lakh crores. Whereas China spends 1.3 per cent of its GDP which translates into ₹15 Lakh crores.
“At a time when the enemy is often not seen, the only way to really compete with a country like China would be to have as much or more equipment than they have,” said Mehrishi.