New Delhi: Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad Friday said India could be China in terms of economic success if it was "less democratic".
"India would be like China if it was little less democratic," Mahathir said in New Delhi at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit while speaking on Challenges of Change in the 21st Century.
The man, widely credited with making Malaysia part of the "East Asia Miracle", said democracy is the best form of government but it was not the easiest to govern as people do not understand the limitations of democracy.
"We can`t force countries to accept democracy even if it`s the best form of governance," he said.
It is important for the world to understand the limitations of democracy, said Mahathir, who ruled Malaysia for 22 years.
Mahathir stressed that India needed a much stronger central government and less powerful federal structure to make rapid economic progress.
He claimed that Singapore had done tremendously well in the economic sphere because of limited democracy, and added that sometimes democracy can paralyse Parliament -- comments that acquired added resonance in view of the stalemate in Indian Parliament over the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail.
Stating that a closed market has slowed down India`s growth, Mahathir said though India has a socialist leaning it has been a democracy for a long time.