to British Deputy High Commissioner to India
India is a remarkable
country - a country with almost 1bn people, with a huge diversity of
language, religion and tradition - enjoying liberty, freedom, economic
stability and relative social harmony. Indian Governments, the Indian
Civil Service, the numerous political parties and the civil society have
all played their part over the last 50 years to make India governable.
Indeed, they have all contributed to the success that India has enjoyed -
success in raising living standards, success in science and technology,
success in having political and economic influence at the international
level. I congratulate the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Vajpayee, and his
Government in projecting India as a force to reckon with.
How can India move forward
at a greater speed? How can India exploit fully its human resources? How
can it appeal to and attract investment from the Indian diaspora - the NRI?
It has been suggested that about 20million NRIs worldwide produce more in
value than India itself! Why have Taiwan, Hong Kong, & even China,
been more successful at tapping the resources of their diaspora?
I understand that Mr.
Vajpayee has asked Mr. Singhvi - ex High Commissioner in London - to
formulate a policy on attracting NRIs who are keen to invest in India.
What a challenge for Mr. Singhvi? He is, of course, admirably qualified to
take on this task after his distinguished service here in London. I wish
Mr. Singhvi every success in this important task.
The Indian Civil Service is
a great institution and I do not wish to be disrespectful of its
achievements. All countries, large and small, need bureaucracies to
run the affairs of state. Bureaucracy is like sand in an oyster - a little
of it makes a fine pearl - too much sand kills the oyster! Indians have a
natural flair for enterprise. Enterprise in India can fluorish without
interference from the state at both local and national level. The culture
of bureaucracy, characterised by a rigourous pyramidal chain of command
and endless meetings, wastes resources, strangles initiative and frightens
potential investors. India can gain from Britainīs experience in
Britain has a unique and
special relationship with India. Britain is a lead player in Europe.
Britainīs lead in activating bi-lateral trade and investments with India
will be noticed by other European Member States. Such mutual trade and
employment, new skills and bring prosperity to all.
Therefore, I hope that Mr.
Parkinson will be the engine for change - an engine that will push further
the excellent trade relations that Britain has with India.
I wish Mr. Parkinson well
in his new challenging mission to India!