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India is obsessed with over-population. It should learn from China’s mistakes

On August 15 Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped out to the Red Fort in the Indian capital of New Delhi as a newly empowered man, after the landslide election win of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

His rivals in the Congress Party are in disarray, having been utterly crushed and struggling to have their message resonate with the hundreds of millions of Indian voters.

Mr Modi was there to deliver his Independence Day speech. Having outlined his economic policies and displaying his strength in the Jammu and Kashmir affair, his attention then turned to a thorny issue that past Indian politicians have sought to avoid — population, or in Mr Modi’s view, over-population.

At this point ominous comparisons with Deng Xiaoping’s China began to emerge.

In 1979 China was changing quickly. The newly anointed Paramount Leader was Deng Xiaoping, who had emerged successful in the post-Mao power struggle. Eager to lift China out of the economic chaos that Mao’s penchant for violent class struggle had created, Deng was concerned about China’s growing population.

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