‘Anti-Minority’ image will hurt Indian companies, warns former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan has cautioned that an ‘anti-minority’ image for the country could hurt the market for Indian products. This can lead foreign governments to regard the nation as an unreliable partner. Pointing to the credentials of democracy and secularism, the professor at Chicago’s Booth School of Business said that India is entering the battle of perception from a strong position, in which only we will suffer.

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Speaking at the Times Network India Economic Conclave, Rajan said, “If we are seen as a democracy treating all our citizens respectfully, and, you know, relatively poor country, we become much more sympathetic. (Consumers say) ‘I am buying this stuff from this country which is trying to do the right thing’, and therefore, our markets grow.”

The former RBI governor said that it is not only consumers who make such choices as to whom to patronize, but the warmth in international relations also decides such perceptions. Governments make decisions based on whether a country is a “trusted partner”. How does it treat its minorities?

Raghuram Rajan said China is facing similar image problems with regard to Uighurs and to some extent Tibetans, while Ukraine has received overwhelming support because President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen as someone who supports democratic ideas. Stands up to protect what the world believes in.

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