Abid Hussain, the Indian ambassador to the U.S., spoke yesterday in Vance Hall, addressing about 100 students on topics ranging from finance and industry to foreign affairs. Hussain began his address by discussing India's struggle for freedom, speaking of Mahatma Gandhi's non-violence movement and India's commitment to eradicating poverty since it became independent. Hussain also discussed India's gradual development from a purely agricultural nation to its current position as the tenth largest industrial nation in the world. He stressed the changes in India since it became independent, pointing out that India had no professional class when it became independent, while now one third of the world's highly skilled workers come from India. "A new class of people . . . [has] come from the womb of agriculture," Hussain said. Hussain added that despite the large professional class, much of India's population remains below the poverty level and the country is still unable to feed many of its citizens. Pointing to the many Indian students in the audience, Hussain spoke of the "brain drain" of India's students and young professionals, who he said leave India to get better-paying jobs in other countries, such as the U.S. Hussain stressed the importance of discouraging Indians from leaving the country, saying that India must make it more attractive for them to stay. Many Indian students, he said, have little desire to stay in India and would rather emigrate. Speaking of the typical student in India, he said, "His soul has migrated to America and will take six years for his body to arrive there." Hussain also emphasized the importance of democracy in India, pointing out that despite three wars, India has never sacrificed its democratic government. Hussain clarified India's neutral position in the Gulf crisis, saying that despite former close ties to Iraq, India opposes the invasion of Kuwait. Nevertheless, he said, India does not want to use its military in the war, but added that India's ties to the U.S. are becoming stronger in the post-Cold War era. He also said he is worried about the increase in violence between Muslims and Hindus in India. "Instead of going to the ballot box they are reaching for these guns," Hussain said. Hussain answered questions on subjects including the current problems of India's government and India's role in Sri Lanka. Audience members said they found Hussain's address very informative. "His viewpoint on the economic scene was very interesting and encouraging," said Lisa Popick, a second year Wharton graduate student. "His views on opening up to foreign investment were very fair minded and optimistic," said Wharton sophomore Raj Das. "The talk was very enlightening, especially India's stand in the international political arena." The Wharton South Asia Club hosted Hussain's appearance.Comments powered by Disqus
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