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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Foreign Affairs Essays: The Rise of India I

September/October 2005 issue of Foreign Affairs examined the role of rise of China with a lot of talk about its peaceful rise. The current, July/August 2006, issue is about the rise of India.

Gurcharan Das wrote about the economy, C. Raja Mohan about security and over strategic thought of India, Ashton Carter primarily focused on the current nuclear agreement between US and India, and Sumit Ganguly wrote on prospect of Kashmir derailing India's rise. Those who read Das’s India Unbound and Raja Mohan's Crossing the Rubicon may find their essays familiar. Ashton Carter was a lot more circumspect about the nuclear agreement then I would have expected. Sumit Ganguly used to promote strategic and moral equivalence with respect to Pakistan and India on J&K, but not in this essay.

Gurcharan Das talks about The India Model - a model in which the economy grows despite the corrupt and obstructive government. He gives the Indian entrepreneurs - the real Indian economic story - their due. He tears down Nehru and Indira and the apparently self serving "steel frame" bureaucracy.

"But what is most remarkable is that rather than rising with the help of the state, India is in many ways rising despite the state. The entrepreneur is clearly at the center of India's success story."

He tears down Nehru and Indira and the apparently self-serving "steel frame" bureaucracy.

"Indians mournfully called this "the Hindu rate of growth." Of course, it had nothing to do with Hinduism and everything to do with the Fabian socialist policies of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his imperious daughter, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who oversaw India's darkest economic decades."

"No single institution has come to disappoint Indians more than their bureaucracy. In the 1950s, Indians bought into the cruel myth, promulgated by Nehru, that India's bureaucracy was its "steel frame," supposedly a means of guaranteeing stability and continuity after the British raj....But in the holy name of socialism, the Indian bureaucracy created thousands of controls and stifled enterprise for 40 years. India may have had some excellent civil servants, but none really understood business -- even though they had the power to ruin it."

Being a close observer of Indian economy, it was just a joy to read to Das's essay.