The fact that the amount of illegal funds ($500 billion or Dh1.83 trillion) stashed away by Indians in overseas tax havens is almost the same as the US's defence budget ($575 billion) puts the subject in the correct perspective.

The Indian government should spare no effort in ensuring that wealth obtained by ill-gotten means and illegally funnelled into banks abroad must be brought back to the country.

In order to do this, India needs to seek cooperation from the nations concerned — there has been evidence of lack of political will — but this should not stop the government if it is keen. Efforts must be taken — through dialogue and diplomatic means — to cut through political red tape and bureaucracy and expedite processes.

To be sure there will be hurdles but the Indian government must not take its eyes off the bigger picture: the prospect of what such staggering sums of money can do when channelled back into society.