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Spectre of Iraq war dominates CII summit
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad |
January 06, 2003 14:37 IST
The imminent war against Iraq and its likely impact on the world economy, particularly India, dominates the proceedings at the CII 9th Partnership Summit in Hyderabad.
Captains of Indian industry expressed shock over former World Economic Forum managing director Claude Smadja's statement made last night that the question was not whether there would be war against Iraq but the question was whether the war would break out between January 27 and February 28.
Smadja, however, stuck to his guns, stating that he only expressed his views as an analyst. He said the US stand on Iraq issue was that it could not afford to take chances after September 11, 2001 terror attacks on it.
Sunil Mittal, managing director, Bharti Enterprises, observed that from India's point of view, there was not enough case for US to go and attack Iraq in 30 to 40 days.
He called for more negotiations and persuasions by the world bodies. "If it is for amassing weapons of mass destruction and sponsoring terrorism, Pakistan is a fit case and it should be reined in," he said.
He said India had huge stakes in Iraq and Middle East and it could not go against the interests of the Arab world. "We have large labor force in Middle East and can't afford any problem,” he added.
He also spoke about the likely impact the Iraq war would have on oil prices. “India is growing economy and it can't afford problems in oil sector," he said.
Smadja said Bush administration was no longer interested in maintaining the status quo in Arab world though Europe had differences with it over the issue.
He said Iraq was the potential source of risk and US had already made it clear that it would resort to pre-emptive strikes to prevent September 11 kind of attacks.
He said the US action might lead to some shocks and chaos but it would ultimately get benefited.
He said Arab world was on a boiling point. "The Arab world is predominantly young, jobless and desperate with their leadership," he said and pointed out that US was not trying to change regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
"Thus, the objective of Bush administration is to tell these regimes, especially of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, that you can't have the cake and eat it too. You can't benefit from the support of the US and at the same time give free hand to clerics who preach in mosques and schools in a way which lead people crashing planes on buildings," he said.
Thierry Courtaigne, Managing Director, MEDEF International French Business Confederation, hoped that Iraq war would not happen. He said the war might lead to problems in Middle East and an escalation of oil prices affecting the world economy.
Subhashis Gangaopadhyay, Director, India Development Foundation of CII, said the question was not only the short-term or long-term impact the war would have on world economy but the question was what kind of political environment the war would lead to.
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