Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on Wednesday said that the country needs to maintain internal harmony in order to ensure external security.

He made the statement during a conversation with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra.

“Bharat ko jodna hai [There is a need to unite India],” Rajan told the Congress leader. He remarked that no house can stand “if the brothers are fighting”.

The former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund said that regardless of political affiliations, the Bharat Jodo Yatra is necessary for the country in order to ensure communal harmony. The Congress has claimed that the march is aimed at countering the politics of hatred espoused by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Many people say that we can fight internally, we will suppress this minority and we will suppress that, and we will be strong outside,” Rajan told Gandhi. “It cannot happen.”


‘Growth was slowing down even before pandemic’

Rajan also said that the Covid-19 pandemic was part of the reason for the country’s slowing economic growth, but added that growth had been slowing even before the pandemic.

“We had gone from 9[%] to 5[%],” he said. “And we hadn’t really generated reforms.”

The former central bank governor said that growth figures need to be analysed in the context of what the number is being compared with. “If you had a terrible quarter last year, and you are measuring with respect to that, you will look very good,” he said. “So ideally what you would do is to look before the pandemic, in 2019, and look at now.”

Rajan remarked that the lower middle class is the section of society that has suffered the most in recent years. “They lost their jobs, unemployment is spiralling, loans are going up too...interest [rates] are rising,” he said.

On Wednesday, Rajan had joined Gandhi in the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan.

“The increasing number of people standing up to unite the country against hatred shows that we will be successful,” the Congress had said in a tweet sharing a photograph of Gandhi and Rajan.