“Why? Probably because of the international media. The way television channels and movies portrayed India. Many people living below the poverty line gave us the impression that India was a poor country,” Ambassador Mentor Villagomez told IANS on the sidelines of the CII Latin American and Caribbean Outreach Programme.
Villagomez said international tourists and media visiting or filming India were unfortunately focusing mostly on poverty.
“They don’t really show the other side or they don’t show properly,” he said.
“To be very honest, when I came to India three years ago for the first time, I was expecting to see not such a developed country that India has become now.
“What I found here is that you have growth. And you had growth for almost 25 years at a very high rate. That has made India now what it is,” he said.
The ambassador said a much older Latin American image of India was of a land of very rich Maharajas who had more gold and jewellery than anybody else in the world.
He said India’s 400 million middle-class population, greater than the entire American population, was a very powerful economic presence.
“You have managed to grow 400 million middle-class people with a very high economic capacity and that is very fantastic. You have developed India for more than 25 years continuously. At a pace unique in the time of worldwide crisis, that is what we admire,” Villagomez said.
He said India’s “hunger for development” in the past many years has made it one of the biggest importers of commodities resulting in their pricing shooting up.
And with the current growth and economic activity, the Ecuadorian ambassador foresees a much more powerful India emerging in the future.
“I am sure that if India keeps on growing at the pace it is growing right now, even now in the time of crisis when India is still having more than 7 percent growth, I think you will certainly become one of the powerful economies in the world,” he said.
He, however, said India still has a lot of problems.
“But you still have a lot of problems that belongs to the developing part of the world. And that you have not been able to reach a solution for that.”