India Unleashed: India Unleashed Editorials

One of the oldest jokes told by foreign law firm lawyers who often visit India begins with a question about when they think the market will liberalise. “Two years,” the answer will be. “It’s always been two years.”

No country can attract foreign trade and investment without a modicum of rule of law and stability in governance. Rule of law requires not only a set of easily understood norms and procedures, but also independent institutions where such norms are enforced without fear or favour. It is no coincidence that Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice features a trial scene: Venice’s wealth as a trading nation was built on its institutions’ ability to impartially and rigorously enforce contracts in accordance with the law. Hubs of commerce in the modern world such as London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai all boast of excellent institutions designed to resolve commercial disputes in an impartial, effective, and efficient manner.

I would like to congratulate Legally India for having established itself as a progressive, galvanizing force for the Indian legal fraternity, against many odds. This publication represents an incremental step in Legally India’s journey and a timely reminder of India’s economic potential. These days, I am more confident (but not complacent) that India will not simply fritter away its demographic dividend as the narrative shifts from that of a tiger caged to a tiger on the tail of a dragon.

India makes it really difficult to maintain perspective sometimes when gung-ho headlines, government statements and statistics only ever tell part of its story. Yes, at give-or-take around 7%, India’s GDP is growing faster than most other countries and this is predicted to continue increasing next year. But is this enough? And, importantly, are India’s lawyers ready to keep pace?

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