Citing uncertainties in global economy and rising oil prices due to tensions with Iran, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said India is facing "difficult times" but exuded confidence that the "testing" period would be overcome.
Addressing the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, he said that despite the international slowdown, India's growth was 7 per cent in 2011-12 which was "one of the highest in the world".
Referring to the challenges facing the government, he said there were uncertainties in global economy and commodity prices like that of oil were rising due to "uncertain prospects" in West Asia.
"These are difficult times for our country and for our economy, caused to a very large extent by circumstances over which we have little or no control," Singh said.
"These are times when our will and determination are being tested," he said, adding "we must stay the course" and "have faith in ourselves".
He expressed confidence that "we will emerge stronger from these testing times".
His statement assumes significance as it comes against the backdrop of the GDP growth falling to 5.3 per cent in the last quarter of the 2011-12, the lowest in nine years.
Singh said the UPA government had made every effort to fulfill the promises made to the 'aam aadmi' (common man) by delivering high growth rate, implementing programmes for social and economic inclusion on "a scale never seen before" and taking "unprecedented" steps to empower the citizens.
Listing out various achievements of the government, he said poverty is declining faster than it did before UPA took charge, real wages are increasing, agricultural growth has accelerated and economic security has been ensured.