India is the world’s largest democracy. As a secular country India has protected the right to freedom of religion in its Constitution, this is important because 82% of the population is Hindu, 13% Muslim, 2% Sikh, and 2% Christian, followed by relatively small communities of Buddhists, Jain Dharma, Parsee, Jew and Bahia’s. Because of this diversity violence does occasionally happen. This diversity is also reflected in the plurality of languages of which 22 are constitutionally recognized.
Generally speaking India is the cornerstone of stability in a typically unstable region. The relationship India has with Pakistan is evolving and the dialogue the two countries started in early 2004 has decreased tension; however, I would not go as far as to call them friends. India has developed relationships with Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka because India realizes that India’s own security is linked closely to the domestic situation in these countries as they affect India’s own security. India has progressively asserted itself on the international community, seeking a greater presence and roll. India shares its commitment to a multi-polar world system with Russia and China, and shares common views on many issues such as non-interference in domestic affairs. India has developed a close friendship with Russia, and relations with China are growing politically and economically. India has implemented China’s ‘Look E...
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...ional crude oil prices, trade has increased with the OPEC region both in imports and exports. Trade with SAARC region countries currently constitutes only 3% of India’s total trade.
India’s main challenges and priorities are: providing essential public services for the poor; regaining agricultural vitality; increasing manufacturing aggressiveness; developing human resources; protecting the environment; improving rehabilitation and resettlement practices, and improving control. A sustained economic growth rate of 8% or 9 % is an essential part of this strategy, as it is estimated that this would double the real income of the average Indian in ten years, but that is only the case if inflation can be kept at the manageable levels of 4% or less. Also exports must be increased to accomplish this, if you don’t balance the trade you cannot control inflation, or growth.
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