Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, who is now a senior minister of the Singapore Republic, said that to realise its full potential, India needed to accelerate its pace of reforms and change its mindset.

Addressing the valedictory session of the CII partnership summit here on Friday, he said: "India cannot turn its back on reform. No matter which party comes to power, the government of the day will have to deliver the economic goods that the people have come to expect." He admitted that the reforms pace might well fluctuate, caught as it was in the intricacies of coalition politics. "Time and patience is needed to forge a national consensus on reforms", he said exhorting the gathering of businessmen to help out in this regard.

However, apart from maintaining the reform momentum, an equally important requirement was change of mindset, which Mr. Goh chose to describe as software transformation. He felt that for ASEAN and India to be players in a globally integrated economy, a globalised mindset as well with economic reforms were necessary. "Competition drives economic growth, you lose some, but you win more. Governments must therefore work to remove impediments to healthy competition." Mr. Goh said.

He had some comments on India's infrastructure too, saying that it needed improvement. He said many international business rating agencies and businessmen highlight weak infrastructure as the key impediment to India's growth.