No Looking Back On Reforms: PM

New Delhi, October 17: | Updated: Oct 18 2002, 05:30am hrs
Assuring foreign investors that there can be no looking back on the economic reforms process, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee compared the Indian economy with an elephant: somewhat slow to gather momentum but when it does, it is unstoppable and irreversible.

I assured our European business friends (during his recent visit) that such hiccups as they may see in our liberalisation process, are only the democratic process of reconciling divergences and achieving consensus, Mr Vajpayee said hinting at the recent setback to the disinvestment programme during his inaugural address at the India-Asean business summit organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and the ministries of external affairs and commerce and industry here on Thursday.

TRADING SMILES: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad (L) being greeted by Planning Commission deputy chairman KC Pant (R) at the India-Asean Business Summit in New Delhi on Thursday n FE Photo by Raaj Dayal
Continuing with the confidence building tenor of his speech, the Prime Minister said the reforms process continues to target high growth with balanced and equitable development. Our ambitious GDP (gross domestic product) growth target of eight per cent exhorts us to stay on this path. There can be no looking back.

He assured Asean business friends that India is making every effort to make policies more investor friendly by using e-governance to overcome the problems of cumbersome procedure, paper work and bureaucracy. We hope a transition will soon be evident.

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He touched upon the recent terrorist attack in Bali (Indonesia) and said the fight against terrorism has to be broadbased.

The business community in India and the Asean region will have to play an active role in this struggle. Your summit cannot ignore the negative impact of such terrorist acts on business climate in the affected country and in the region.

The Prime Minister said India and Asean have a mutual interest in working towards beneficial preferential and free trade arrangements.