New Delhi: India can "swim against the wind blowing from abroad" and achieve the growth of 8 to 8.5 percent this fiscal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.

Noting that the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) has targeted economic growth of about 9 percent, Singh said "it is difficult in the present world situation", but added that he believed it is achievable if more emphasis is laid on development of infrastructure,health and skill development.

"Just as in the year 2008 we showed to the world that we can swim against the wind blowing from abroad, it is still possible for India to maintain a healthy growth rate of about 8 to 8.5 percent (2011-12) despite the adversity of the international environment," he said.

Singh, while interacting with accompanying journalists on board his special plane on way back from South Africa last evening, was speaking about the impact of the economic crisis in Europe and other developed countries like the US and Japan.

Asked how India could protect itself from the global economic crisis, he said, "We have to ensure that the ill winds from abroad do not affect the growth processes in our country adversely. And for that it is very essential that we maintain the tempo of investment, particularly investment in the infrastructure sector, investment in agriculture, investment in energy saving technologies."

The economist-Prime Minister said India will have to "walk on several legs" to achieve the "most important task" of getting rid of chronic poverty, ignorance and disease which still afflict millions and millions of people in the country.