NEW DELHI: India was not taken seriously when it spoke at international forums till a few years ago, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.
Addressing an NCC event, he said had the COVID-19 pandemic not struck, India's economy would have grown to USD 5 trillion by 2024.
Singh, however, stressed that India will probably take a year more to reach the target of a USD 5 trillion economy.
"India's power has increased today. Its international reputation and trustworthiness have increased, whether it is in the IT sector, education sector, trade, defence or economy. India is growing in all of these sectors," Singh said.
"We are moving ahead in economy. India is the third-largest country in terms of purchasing power parity," he said, adding, "We will also achieve a 100 per cent literacy rate in the next few years." While observing that India "used to import everything, even small arms, from abroad" earlier, the defence minister said the country is among the top 25 defence exporters of the world.
Singh said, "Till just a few years ago, the situation was such that no one used to take India seriously when the country spoke at international forums." India is the only country that has given a message of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam', the whole world is one family, he said.
"India's culture is the best. You will say that every country must be saying the same. But I can give you 20-25 examples to prove that India's culture is the best culture," Singh noted.
The minister congratulated the NCC cadets for their lively dance performance during the 'Vijay Shrinkhala' event commemorating the 50th anniversary of India's victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war and India's 75th year of Independence.