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Pause, take stock and run

india Updated: Nov 02, 2008 23:33 IST
Highlight Story

It's the difference between the ‘stop’ button and the ‘pause’ button. Pressing 'pause' gives you time to reflect, to remedy mistakes and solve problems before you take off from where you've left off. Pressing ‘stop’, of course, is an altogether different matter. Hindustan Times Leadership Summit

I would argue that the Indian economy is in the ‘pause’ mode. And as the days, weeks and months pass and build distance between us and the present, what now appears like a full-blown crisis will seem like a blip for a country whose GDP will, at worst, keep growing at 7 per cent. Or, keep your fingers crossed, even higher, much to the envy of almost every other country caught in the global meltdown.

What better time than this for a pause?

The Hindustan Times Leadership Summit offers us just that.

A meeting of leading minds from across the world where ideas will be exchanged and sense made of what is happening in these very interesting times.

But beyond economics and the global meltdown are other, far more serious threats that could deepen the fault-lines and become full-blown crises, which can impact India in more adverse ways. Our readers are aware of the tumultuous events in recent months that have rocked the country. Serial blasts have become alarmingly frequent, attacks by terrorists who now come in every stripe, communal riots that flare up in nearly every region, deepening hatred and dividing our people.

In recent months, this newspaper has chronicled all these tragic incidents. In the last six months alone, there have been more than 60 bombings in India and till the last count, nearly 1,000 people have died in terror attacks this year.

Religious hatred has led to violent conflicts and killings across the country, while turbulent anti-immigrant sentiments have led to senseless killings in one of its economically most-developed states.

Unlike the ephemeral nature of the economic slowdown, these events, unfortunately, will not go away in a hurry. Indeed, these are the things that pose real threats to India, that can trip up the country's ambitions of emerging as a global leader.

Fortuitously, with assembly and parliamentary elections coming up in the next few months, this is also a time when Indians will once again be able to choose the leaders they would want to combat these very challenges and steer them through the crises that we face.

And that’s what makes this year’s Hindustan Times Leadership Summit that much more important. Our stellar array of speakers -- including statesmen, both Indian and global, academicians, businesspersons, writers and thinkers -- will no doubt help us find answers to questions that are looming large today on every citizen's mind. Questions about how India can seek its place at the head table in the 21st century.