India unlikely to go into protectionist mode: Bhagwati

The global economic crisis that has led to "protectionist" legislations being tabelled in the US Congress is unlikely to push India into a similar mode, renowned international economist Jagdish Bhagwati has said.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2009 03:18 IST
PTI

The global economic crisis that has led to "protectionist" legislations being tabelled in the US Congress is unlikely to push India into a similar mode, renowned international economist Jagdish Bhagwati has said.

"On sliding back into protectionism, I just don't see that happening. There's literally no evidence," he said.

It could be difficult to liberalise further, though, said Bhagwati, who teaches at the Columbia University and is a Senior fellow for International Economics at the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

"I don't see the (Indian) government actually succumbing to calls for protectionism. Whether they will go ahead and liberalise it is a different issue, because it's a matter of whether you go -- can you go forward?" Bhagwati said in a conference call organised by the CFR.

"I don't think you can in India any more than in the United States and elsewhere, simply because to liberalise is difficult when you have, you know, substantial economic difficulties," he said.

Bhagwati said there are some people in India who are still on the same bus as in the '60s and '70s, when they were against any kind of international engagement on trade and incoming foreign investment.

First Published: Feb 08, 2009 03:16 IST