India is bulwark for future of Asia: Kamal Nath


Tokyo : The unbeatable amalgam of an ancient civilization embracing globalisation in a framework that is open and democratic makes India one of the bulwarks for the future of Asia, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said Thursday.

Support TwoCircles

"A few years ago, we had sensed the dangers which rapid economic growth without inclusive development can pose to the social polity," Kamal Nath told a seminar on the future of Asia organised here by Nikkei.

"For the last three years we have therefore been moulding policies which, while ensuring that growth continues unhindered and faster, make the benefits evenly spread, and reach the common man – what we in India call the 'aam aadmi'."

This, he said, was an outcome of an understanding that India's growth process was not creating as many jobs as needed, with the expansion of industrial and services sector remaining urban-centric.

He said the attraction of India lay in three distinct aspects: its current and potential economic growth, the sound politico-legal complexion and the stability of its democratic institutions, multi-culturalism and successful diaspora.

Referring to the current state of play at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the efforts to successfully conclude the Doha Round of trade talks, Kamal Nath said matters were stuck because of what he termed as selective openness.

"While the professed objective is greater openness in all aspects of trade, in practice this objective is observed in a highly selective manner that reflects the predilections and concerns of developed countries," he observed.

"Talk of a development round remains largely rhetorical," he said, and gave some examples of distortions in areas like free flow of labour force, farm subsidies, intellectual property rights and treatment of least developed countries.

"The fundamental principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries to address concerns of policy space in the major areas of negotiations remains deadlocked," he added.

Nevertheless, Kamal Nath said, the unity among the developing countries has been their strength and had managed to withstand pressures from the rich nations to undermine the development promise of the Doha Round.

"In our work ahead, I intend to continue working with my colleagues to create that balance of give-and-take across the Doha Work Programme as a whole, which will make winners of each of us."