A letter from Dr Elliott Green, published in the Financial Times on 17 June 2014

Sir, Bachu Biswas (Letters, June 16) makes the classic mistake of thinking that controlling population will promote economic development independent of other factors.

To see how wrong this is one needs only look to Bangladesh, which has a population density of more than 1,000 people per square kilometre, or more than 2.5 times greater than that of India.

Despite its high density Bangladesh has recently seen large amounts of economic growth that have raised its life expectancy above that of India with lower levels of malnourishment, infant mortality and maternal mortality.

One of the things that Bangladesh has done better than India in this regard has been promoting fertility decline through family planning, which has had a positive effect on the health of women and children and allowed more women to enter the workforce, while also lowering population growth.