New Delhi: India will be one of the three largest economies in the world over the next 25 years as it had already demonstrated its capacity to grow even during adversity, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.
He said that India stood as an exception in a world where most countries had started to increasingly look inwards.
Addressing the valedictory session of Asean-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo here, Jaitley said the growth story of Asean countries was quite similar to the Indian story as growth eluded both these regions when the Western world was growing at a fast pace.
“When the Western world was growing faster, when the industrial revolution was paying dividends to that part of the world, these were the countries which were still struggling. Our economic growth and development was somewhat a latter prospect,” he said.
“But in the last few years, this is the region which indeed has grown very fast. The Asean nations’ growth rate is 4.5-5 per cent in a situation where the world has seen a global slowdown. And the prospect of this region growing over the next two to two-and-a-half decades is extremely significant.”
Jaitley said the Indian story was also somewhat similar as from a “very modest” growth rate in the last 25 years, the country had picked up and had now reached a point where it had become one of the fastest growing economies.
“From the seventh largest, moving to the fifth largest economy… Unquestionably, (in) the period of 25 years, India would perhaps be one of the largest three economies in the world.
“And India has already demonstrated that it has even the capacity to grow during adversity.”
Jaitley said that trade with Asean countries was of great importance to India as “Look East Policy” was one of the essential pillars of Indian foreign policy. He said the two regions had shared values and a shared culture.
“India and the Asean nations represent an aspirational world. This aspirational world is what houses two billion people. And trade has the capacity to give that necessary impetus to the economy,” he said.
He added that expanding the trade relations between Asean countries and India would lead to mutual benefits for both regions.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Jaitley said Modi had rightly pointed out that one of the three global challenges facing the world was the fact that the world had increasingly started looking inwards.
“The Prime Minister pointed out that’s where India stands out as an exception… This opening out (of India) in terms of trade and investment has certainly brought not only additional resources as far as India is concerned, but significantly improved upon India’s own competitive strength,” he said.