New Delhi: Refusing to be drawn into comparisons with China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said growth was also possible through democracy.
"If China is one example, then the democratic countries provide another example. They also grow fast. You cannot say that growth is not possible through democracy. It is our legacy, it is in our DNA," Modi said in an exclusive interview to CNN's Fareed Zakaria.
"I have seen the strength of democracy. If there was no democracy, then how would I, Modi, be sitting here," he said.
On whether India can be the next China, Modi said: "See, India does not need to become anything else. India just needs to become India. We have fallen from where we were before. But now we have a chance. If we see the details, then you will see that India and China have grown at similar paces.
"This is a country that once upon a time was called the 'golden bird'. We have fallen from where we were before. But now we have the chance to rise again," Modi said.
"Their (India and China) contributions to global GDP have risen in parallel, and fallen in parallel. Today's era once again belongs to Asia. India and China are both growing rapidly, together," he said when asked if India could match up to the GDP growth achieved by its northern neighbour.
Questioned on China's behaviour in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, which has worried many governments, Modi said: "India is different. It is a country of 1.25 billion people. We can't run our country if we get worried about every small thing.
"At the same time, we can't close our eyes to problems. We are not living in the 18th century. This is an era of partnership. Everyone will have to seek and extend help mutually.
"We should have trust in China's understanding and have faith that it would accept global laws and will play its role in cooperating and moving forward," he said.