India, a country of contradictions: European MP

Friday, February 25, 2011

NEW DELHI - India can launch nuclear weapons and develop space programmes but its high maternal mortality and illiteracy is unacceptable, a delegation of MPs from Europe said Friday.

A six-member team of European Union (EU) MPs completed their five-day study tour of India — and shared their experiences.

“India is a country of contradictions. Here one cannot generalize anything. For example, the country is developed in space programmes and has the ability to make nuclear weapons. But women die while giving birth. This is simply not acceptable,” Britta Thomsen of Denmark said.

Thomsen said that in Kadiya village in Udaipur, she was surprised to see young girls already married and an anaemic woman waiting to give birth.

“I was shocked to see a large number of girls who were married at an early age, some as young as seven. Women particularly in rural areas have no control over their life.”

Though the MPs found that India was an incredible country in terms of food and hospitality, they saw big gaps among the rural and urban population and also major gender discrimination.

Nadja Hirsch from Germany said maternal mortality was high in India due to early marriage and malnutrition.

Asked how European countries could help to check maternal deaths in India, the MPs promised to pitch for more contacts between European institutions and Indian NGOs such as Chetna.

The delegation met 18 Indian MPs including P.J Kurien, M.S. Swaminathan, H.K. Dua, Mabel Rebello and Viplov Thakur.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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