December 12, 2019
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'Make India An Economic Power'

Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati, world-renowned economist (and an expert on sanctions), has always disapproved of N-weapons. But in a phone interview, he echoed the opinion of lakhs of Indians in the US. Excerpts:

'Make India An Economic Power'
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On India's security risks: The world was not paying any attention to regional problems. For many years, China has been a problem because of the border row. The fact that it is low key doesn't mean that it doesn't exist on the McMahon Line. Then we have the Tibetan refugee problem—we can't put them back on yaks and send them back to be slaughtered by the Chinese. Can we?

We would all protest—right? My first reaction to the tests was one of regret, but then after looking at the arguments by experts on the security side, I thought there was a regional rationale for it."

On sanctions: Unilateral trade sanctions almost never work, so all these Washington estimates which are produced are really nothing more than garbage. The effect of US sanctions on India will be very little. But I'm glad some sanctions are being used. At least Indians will realise what a ridiculous situation has developed after 50 years of so-called development. Finally they should get their dhotis tightened, get their act together and open up the Indian economy. Actually, when you look at it, my head spins. What is India after 50 years of independence doing taking aid from small countries like Sweden and Denmark? All those political leaders should be lined up and tied to the next missile like Tipu Sultan used to do—put these guys on the cannons and fire them off.

On what India should do: If the Indian government reacts by turning inwards, and going swadeshi, then of course that will make matters worse. The key is to open up the economy and make India an economic powerhouse.

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