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India should think itself as world power: Hungary

IANS  |  New Delhi 

India, with its sound economy, large population and its "highly respected leadership", should think of itself as a global power and not merely as a regional power, said visiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban here Thursday.

Addressing the Eighth Sapru House Lecture on 'Hungary and Europe in a Changing World' at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), Orban said the realpolitik of the world was changing fast as well as the global defence and military structures.

Orban said Hungary, a country of around 10 million in Central Europe, sees India as playing a "very important role in global affairs.

"India should think of itself not as a regional power but as a global power, and to draw all the consequences that come with that role," he said, adding that it would be a "difficult challenge".

"But with its economy, its huge population and traditionally highly respected leadership you can do it," stressed the Hungarian prime minister who is in India Oct 16-19 at the head of a large business delegation.

He said with India's "global role in mind", his country has supported New Delhi's candidature for a permanent seat to the United Nations Security Council.

Orban said his country has successfully managed to pull itself out from the verge of bankruptcy and was keen to enter into economic partnership with emerging economies of the world for a win-win partnership.

He praised India's "traditional value system", which he said has prevented the country from falling into the economic quagmire that the West finds itself in.

"Look at what has happened with Europe which was once considered the most attractive continent on earth.. Look at what is going on now..You (India and other emerging economies) are coming up and we are falling down."

He said, according to his belief, it was important to "find harmony between technical and modern living standards and traditional values.. creating harmony is the key".

"Be happy you have some values that puts some limits, it is good and not bad.. It could be harmful to the economy in the short term, but in the long term it is good, not bad," Orban reiterated.

Citing the irritation that several European countries have with "too many rules" of the European Union, Orban said Central Europe, to which his country belongs, is open to investment and doing business with emerging countries and has all the logistics and infrastructure support necessary.

Hungary is keen for cooperation with India in high tech areas, in agriculture, processed food, water and waste management, he said.

Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said India and Hungary have "close and substantive ties" and have signed several bilateral agreements in areas like trade, agriculture, IT, science and technology and defence.

S.K Lambah, former Indian envoy to Hungary and special envoy of the Prime Minister's Office, who was in the chair, said Budapest has seen a lot of changes with Orban at the helm. Rajiv Bhatia, ICWA director general, said Orban has worked to improve public health, education and administration in his country.

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First Published: Thu, October 17 2013. 14:36 IST