India, Asian economies will drive global growth: Ministers


New Delhi : Asia, and particularly India, will be the major driver of global economic growth for the better part of the next century, senior union ministers said at a high-profile awards gala held here.

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“There has been a dramatic change in the world economy. Today everyone is talking about Asia, Asian business and Asian business leaders,” said Kamal Nath, minister of urban development, addressing the Asian Business Leadership Forum (ABLF) awards Monday night.

According to Nath, even in adverse economic conditions, Asian businesses have shown resilience, helped by the strong financial systems in the continent.

“We have very different financial systems than that of Europe or North America. Over here, the banks are paying the government, lending to business. Over there the governments are paying to banks to keep them alive,” Nath said.

The minister said that the future challenge for Asian economies would be to sustain the high growth rates, while that for the European economies would be to manage the growth rates.

“Our challenge would be to sustain the growth rate, while their challenge would be to manage the growth rate so that it does not go into negative rate.”

Kamal Nath emphasised the need for greater economic integration in the Asian region and said: “The next decade will see much more regional economic integration as it is required. The integration would be similar to the one India has with the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries.”

Lauding Asian business leaders, Kamal Nath said that today Asian MNCs (multi-national companies) did not seek top management from abroad but had a base of home-grown leaders, who were also leading other international companies.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal pointed out the challenge of sustaining growth through innovative and effective use of available resources.

“We live in an era where there is paucity of resources to realise dreams. We have to innovate and look at new resources which are sustainable and consistent with the laws of nature,” Sibal said.

He lauded the role of women in leading the growth of Asian business.

“When we in this part of the world move on and produce more women leaders, it would not just add three to four percent to GDP but a lot more than that,” Sibal said in his address at the awards ceremony.

Sibal received a loud applause when he shared his observation that: “Men of this world are good leaders, but females of this world are great leaders. The women leaders of this world know how to take care of the family, how to invest money, how to distribute wealth and how to sustain a family and take it forward.”

The awards have been instituted by Indian Expressions — a Dubai-based company — that seeks to connect the Gulf region with India and the larger South East Asian region, and bring closer their respective business communities, top policy-makers and civil society.