While last year has been an annus horribilis for New Delhi on the political and economic fronts, G Parthasarathy looks ahead to a brighter future as India strengthens links with its ASEAN partners, though with some concerns about China.
The year 2012 was a virtual nightmare for India’s political and diplomatic establishment. Over the past decade, international attention on India has largely focused on what was seen as an almost irreversible process of annual 8 per cent economic growth. As the economy grew rapidly and trade and investment ties across the globe and particularly in its eastern neighbourhood expanded significantly, India was seen as an emerging player in the world economy.
But, as internal discontent increased, especially amongst its poor and expanding middle class, due to manifestations of growing corruption, spiralling inflation and declining growth rates, the Manmohan Singh Government was seen internationally and domestically as an administration under siege, wading through an economic mess created by its fiscal profligacy.
India’s domestic problems soon assumed external dimensions. The international media highlighted the seriousness of corruption issues in India, which had adversely affected the communications and coal sectors — key sectors in India’s robust economic growth.
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