He also said China wants to stay connected with the world and there was a need to have faith that it would accept global laws in maritime disputes with some of its neighbours.
Modi said democracy was India’s legacy.
“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.
Questioned on China’s behaviour in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, which has worried some 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.
On whether India can be the next China, Modi said: “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 neighbour.
Asked about Russia’s action in Ukraine and his views about Russia’s “annexation” of the Crimea, Modi said India’s view point was that “efforts need to be made to sit together and talk, and to resolve problems in an ongoing process”.
The prime minister also spoke about the death of innocent people when a Malaysian Airlines plane crashed in Ukraine.
“Whatever happened there, innocent people died in a plane accident. That’s very saddening. These are not good things for humanity in this age. We have always expressed those views.
“There is a saying in India that the person who should throw a stone first is the person who has not committed any sins. In the world right now, a lot of people want to give advice. But look within them, and they too have sinned in some way,” he said.