External affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday while in the 20th century, colonialism ensured that India was one of the poorest nations, it stood proudly as the 5th biggest economy in the world at the moment.
In his address in New York on a special ‘India@75’ Showcasing India-UN Partnership in Action’ event on the sidelines of UNGA in New York, Jaishankar said India today envisions itself as a developed country by 2047, the 100th year of its independence.
“In the 18th century, India accounted for a quarter of the global GDP. By the middle of the 20th, colonialism ensured that we were one of the poorest nations in the world. That was our state when we became the founding member of the United Nations,” the minister said.
Jaishankar said in the 75th year of its independence, India stands before the UN today “proudly as the fifth biggest economy in the world” and is still rising as the “strongest, most enthusiastic and definitely the most argumentative democracy”.
On September 2, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that India had surged past the United Kingdom to become the fifth largest economy in the world. The latest change in rankings is based on quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) numbers in current dollars for the period ending December 2021. India increased its lead over the UK in the quarter ending March, IMF data showed.
Jaishankar also spoke of the progress of digital public infrastructure in India and said it is designed to ensure that “no one is left behind.”
“In recent days digital technology has successfully advanced our food safety net to 800 million Indians. More than USD 300 billion of benefits have been distributed digitally, 400 million people get food regularly,” he said.
“India today envisions itself as a developed country by 2047, at the 100 years of our independence. We dream of digitising our most remote villages and landing on the moon,” he said and smiled saying “perhaps digitising” the moon as well.
India stands committed to strengthen its partnership with United Nations to ensure a brighter future for the planet, he said. “We have full faith in the principles of UN and its charter. The world in our view is one family today,” Jasihankar said.
“The conflict in Ukraine has aggravated food and energy inflation to make it one of the biggest challenges of our times. India has responded by supplying food grains including as grant assistance in recent years to Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Yemen and several other countries,” he said.
The event was attended by dignitaries from the UN, including president of the 77th session of UN General Assembly Csaba Korosi, UN deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed, Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid and UNDP administrator Achim Steiner.
Jaishankar said India believes that development is a public good and open sourcing is the best way forward.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI)