RSS backs FDI, di­vest­ment to counter eco­nomic slow­down

Swadeshi Is Self-Re­liance, Not Eco­nomic Iso­la­tion: Bhag­wat

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: RSS chief Mo­han Bhag­wat on Tues­day jus­ti­fied al­low­ing for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment in sev­eral sec­tors and sup­ported dis­in­vest­ment, ar­gu­ing that moves were needed to “strengthen the econ­omy”.

In his Vi­jayadasham­i ad­dress, Bhag­wat also em­pha­sised that swadeshi meant self-re­liance but not eco­nomic iso­la­tion. “Some think that swadeshi means break­ing ties with the world. It is not at all like that... Coun­tries have been trad­ing and hav­ing strong eco­nomic re­la­tions with each other more of­ten than be­fore. But which coun­tries have such strong re­la­tions? The ones which are self-suf­fi­cient,” Bhag­wat was quoted as say­ing by a news agency.

The state­ment on trade ties comes at a time when the govern­ment is en­gaged in in­tense ne­go­ti­a­tions on the pro­posed Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship, a mega free trade agree­ment in­volv­ing China, Asean na­tions, Ja­pan, South Korea, New Zealand and Aus­tralia. While high-level de­lib­er­a­tions are un­der way in the govern­ment on fi­ness­ing coun­try’s ne­go­ti­at­ing stance, Swadeshi Ja­gran Manch, an RSS-af­fil­i­ate, has been crit­i­cal of the pro­posal with a cru­cial min­is­te­ri­al­level dis­cus­sions due later this week.

How­ever, Bhag­wat ruled out blan­ket op­po­si­tion to trade ar­range­ments.“The things I can make at home, I will not buy it from mar­ket. If I have to buy it from out­side, I should pre­fer lo­cal mar­ket and pro­tect the lo­cal mak­ers and their jobs... Hav­ing trade re­la­tions with other coun­tries on our own terms is called swadeshi,” he said.

“Such a self-re­liant coun­try can have re­la­tions with other coun­tries based on friend­ship and not on profit or loss. To at­tain such trust among for­eign in­vestors, we need to shift to­wards a self-re­liant econ­omy,” Bhag­wat said.

Bhag­wat backed the govern­ment’s han­dling of the econ­omy, while dis­miss­ing sug­ges­tions that the econ­omy was in the grip of a re­ces­sion. “Slow­ing down of the world econ­omy has left its im­pact ev­ery­where... We will def­i­nitely come out of this cy­cle of so-called re­ces­sion. The per­son­al­i­ties lead­ing our econ­omy are com­pe­tent enough,” he told a gath­er­ing in Nag­pur, in an em­phatic vote of con­fi­dence in Prime Miniter Naren­dra Modi, who has been the spear­head of an ef­fort to ar­rest slow­down.

While RSS has in the past had op­posed for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment and dis­in­vest­ment in sev­eral sec­tors, Bhag­wat seemed to sup­port both the strate­gies, al­though he did dwell into the swadeshi ide­ol­ogy in de­tail.

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HCL founder and chair­man Shiv Nadar (left) with Mo­han Bhag­wat at the RSS head­quar­ters in Nag­pur on Tues­day

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