Washington: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave a befitting reply to the negative Western ‘perception’ of India at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) where she was discussing the resilience and growth of the Indian economy.
“I would think the answer for that lies with those investors who are coming to India, and they’ve been coming. And as somebody who’s interested in receiving investments, I would only say, come have a look at what’s happening in India, rather than listen to perceptions being built by people who have not even visited on the ground and who produce reports,” said Sitharaman while responding to PIIE President Adam S Posen on perceptions affecting investment in India or capital flows.
Posen also questioned Sitharaman that there is widespread reporting in the Western press about MPs in the opposition party losing status, and about Muslim minorities in India being subjected to violence.
“India has the second-largest Muslim population in the world, and that population is only growing in numbers. If there is a perception, or if there’s in reality, their lives are difficult or made difficult with the support of the state, which is what is implied in most of these write-ups, I would ask, will this happen in India in the sense, will the Muslim population be growing than what it was in 1947?” said the Finance Minister.
The condition of minorities is worsening in Pakistan and their numbers are declining by the day. Minorities in Pakistan are severely charged with minor allegations, leading to punishments like the death penalty. Blasphemy laws, in most cases, are used to fulfill a personal vendetta. Victims are immediately presumed guilty, even without proper investigation and holding the trial under a jury.
“As opposed to, let us say, I take the name of the country and therefore the contrast can be sharper. As opposed to Pakistan, which was formed at the same time India was divided into two – Pakistan. Pakistan declared itself an Islamic country but said minorities will be protected. Every minority has been dwindling in its number…..decimated in Pakistan. Even some of the Muslim sects have also been decimated,” said Sitharaman.