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'Indian democracy is shallow, a failure'

world Updated: Sep 28, 2013 01:27 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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Democracy in India is shallow and has failed to provide stability and overall growth for its citizens, Chinese state media said Friday adding that its success in the long-term as a "super power" is a stereotype propagated by the West.

In a scathing editorial, the People's Daily-owned Global Times said democratic institutions have failed to provide equality to its citizens.

Democracy only exists in India in the framework but is empty inside, it added.

"By always defending itself as a democratic nation, India's general election and rule of law can only constitute a well-recognized outer form instead of an inner force, because those democratic institutions have failed to bring about overall stability, equality and well-being to its citizens," the editorial added.

There is criticism it said that votes in India often become an important baton to instruct power players rather than an agreement to guarantee fast and effective progress. "India needs to objectively estimate its democracy," the editorial advised.

Without the ability to lift the nation from poverty, it appears that "democracy" itself is no help to transform India to a great power, it said.

Picking up threads from Indian strategic analyst Bharat Karnad's book, "India's Rise: Why It's Not a Great Power (Yet)", the editorial said there were a number of deficits in India hampering development including "overly bureaucratic system, the ineptitude of local governments and policy infirmities, social and political fragmentation, corruption, and unbelievable poverty."

"Karnad greatly stresses the significance of addressing these deficits, which are the biggest internal factors that are still trapping India's ankles in the quagmire of social development," it said, adding that India should expand its vision to economically co-opt its neighboring countries and politically address security concerns with the Indo-Pacific countries.

But when and where Karnad writes optimistically about India's future, the state media-ran newspaper dismisses it as "familiar positive stereotypes again - if problems are resolved, then a bright future is bound to come. However, in many circumstances, India seems to have put the cart before the horse."

It indicated that "hard power symbols" like military modernisation and "soft power" such films and music are erroneously seen as India's rise.

Incidentally, books that are critical of the authoritarian Communist Party of China are invariably banned in the Communist country.