India could be China if there was less democracy: Mahathir

New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad Friday said India could be China in terms of economic success if it was 'less democratic' and remarked 'sometimes democracy can paralyse decision-making'.

'India would be like China if it was little less democratic,' Mohamad said.

His remarks assume significance in the wake of the ongoing logjam in parliament over foreign equity in multi-brand retail, which has left the house paralysed for 9 days.

He was speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here on 'The Challenges of Change in the 21st Century'.

The man, widely credited with making Malaysia a part of the 'East Asia Miracle', said democracy was the best form of government but it was not the easiest to govern as people did not understand the limitations of democracy.

Mohamad, who transformed Malaysia from being a small rubber exporting country to an Asian tiger, said India needed a powerful federal structure with a strong centre but less powerful provincial governments to be able to make rapid economic progress.

Stating that a closed market had slowed down India's growth, he said though India has a socialist leaning it has been a democracy for a long time.

'We can't force countries to accept democracy even if it's the best form of governance,' he said, adding that 'it is important for the world to understand the limitations of democracy'.