Ex-PM: Delhi not doing enough for economy

Indian Prime Minister Modi should focus on improving relations with neighbouring countries, says Mr Singh (right).
Indian Prime Minister Modi should focus on improving relations with neighbouring countries, says Mr Singh (right).PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MUMBAI • In a rare interview, India's former prime minister Manmohan Singh criticised his successor Narendra Modi's government for failing to take advantage of lower commodity prices to propel economic growth and an inconsistent policy towards neighbour Pakistan.

Speaking to India Today, Mr Singh said the Modi government should use India's improving fiscal balances to raise investment in the economy and raise credit availability to businesses. "In the hands of a purposeful government, this could be an opportunity to step up investment in the economy in a big way," said Mr Singh, who left office after a 2014 election loss.

Mr Singh, who is regarded as the architect of India's economic reforms that led to years of rapid growth, said the government has not been able to capitalise on falling oil and commodity prices that have lowered India's import bill.

Mr Singh also said Mr Modi should focus on improving relations with neighbouring countries, adding that the government has not succeeded at making headway with arch rival Pakistan, which India accuses of supporting insurgents across their shared border.

"Certainly relations with major powers have improved... But I would say that the real test of foreign policy is in the handling of your neighbours. And here I would say that the Modi government's handling of Pakistan is inconsistent," the 83-year old told the magazine. "It has been one step forward, two steps back."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 14, 2016, with the headline 'Ex-PM: Delhi not doing enough for economy'. Print Edition | Subscribe