Former Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh has criticised his successor Narendra Modi’s government for its inconsistent policies vis-à-vis Pakistan and its failure to capitalise on the falling global oil prices.
In his first interview since leaving the office 18 months ago, Singh said Modi had not succeeded in making any headway in relations with Pakistan and should focus on improving relations with neighbouring countries.
“The real test of foreign policy is in the handling of your neighbours,” he said. “I would say the Modi government’s handling of Pakistan is inconsistent. It has been one step forward, two steps back.”
Speaking to the India Today magazine, Singh also criticised his successor for failing to give Indian people the feeling that their country was on an upward path despite the global fall in commodity prices.
Singh is widely regarded as the architect of economic reforms in India. He suggested that the government use improving fiscal balance to raise investment in the economy and increase credit availability to businessmen.
“In the hands of a purposeful government, this could have been an opportunity to step up investment in the economy in a big way,” said Singh, who left the office in 2014.
The Indian economy expanded 7.3% in the quarter through December, but consumer inflation has also inched up unexpectedly and capital goods production fell nearly 20% in December.
Responding to Singh’s criticism the government had not consulted the opposition on budget, Indian Finance Minister instead blamed the previous administration for mismanaging the economy. In a rebuttal on his website and social media accounts, he blamed the Congress, which is now in the opposition, for not supporting call for reforms in parliament.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2016.