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Geopolitics, economic reforms and the citizen

By Nitin Pai for Loksatta Whistle.

Let us be clear: the world is interested in India because our economy is growing. If the growth process stalls, the world will stop seeing India as a potential solution to its problems. It is important that the world sees us positively this way because that, in turn, creates an environment conducive for our own growth and development.

So, getting back onto a high growth path is as much a foreign policy imperative as it is a development policy goal. Economic power can be converted into military power, knowledge power, cultural power and other forms of power.

India in 2015 has a short window of opportunity to avail of a virtuous cycle of positive demographics, shifting global balance of power and the economics of development. If we miss the bus, it might be several decades before we get another chance.

This is why the goal of completing the process of economic liberalisation is important. It is also why the task of reforming the government to make the Indian state more competent is important. It is wishful to believe that either of these goals can be achieved by a citizenry that is narrowminded, parochial, illiberal and chauvinistic.

If economic and governance reforms are in the domain of political leaders, personal reforms are very much in our own hands. Can the politically awakened Indian citizen hold fast to the enlightened values enshrined in our Constitution? Let’s use the opportunity to reflect on this.

Author is co – founder and director of the Takshashila Institution, an independent think tank and school of public policy.

This piece was first published in Loksatta Whistle.

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