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Can India Become a Superpower

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1.The end of the Cold War and the era of “unipolar” US dominance that followed has led many to wonder about the future of international power. Who will rival, or perhaps even replace, the US? At least one…At least one obvious candidate has emerged. Although it would be premature to categorise China as a global superpower, it is quickly developing into the US’s most plausible challenger. But in discussions of globally important matters – Syria, financial crisis, the NSA fallout and so on – one name is curiously absent: India 2.Superpower in a broader sense means a stage which has the ability to influence events and project power worldwide and has immense potential to become one. The characteristics of superpowers are firstly, the state or nation should have sizable presence in terms of area and population. Secondly, the state should have high levels of domestic cohesion, a clear sense of national identify and stable administration based on strong legal and institutional arrangements.

Thirdly, the state should be economically strong and should be endowed with natural resources, particularly energy resources, minerals and metals. Such a state should have a strong industrial base backed by technological knowledge and also have strong military capabilities, particularly nuclear and missile. The combination of all these ingredients and attributes of the state should be at for higher levels than those of the majority of states in the international community. It is only then that the state can acquire the status of a superpower and be acknowledged as such. In this context, if we examine India’s position, then India’s quest for an influential status in world affairs in many ways had nothing to do with the substantive criteria described above. Merely clinging to the utopic idea superpower hood will not make it happen. There are some major constraints which pose a challenge to this vision. Major constraints:

3.Domestic poverty:
The one and major is the pervasive poverty that impedes India’s progress in every sector .It is the root cause of many socio-economic problems including population explosion ,unemployment, child labor and rising graphs of crimes.

India has the largest proportions of people below the poverty line in the world with the problem being acute in villages .Given the massive challenge of domestic poverty and underdevelopment, India simply has not had the resources to enable the development of a modern military arsenal. As such, it has been unable to assert itself on the international stage. In international conflicts, India’s military has only been active in humanitarian assistance and ancillary non-combat roles. Although other countries, notably Russia and China, have been able to act as veto players on the international stage, India’s presence is of little consequence. For instance, few people would know or care to know what India’s position is on, say, the conflict in Syria. Clearly India is not at present a global power. The question that remains to be answered is whether India has the potential to become a one in the future. Once again, academic theory guides us to think about a country’s latent power, which is the state’s ability to translate assets of population and wealth into mobilisable power.

Viewed in this way, India is also unlikely to gain a foothold as a major global player. To be sure, it has demonstrated an impressive ability to galvanize the information technology and business process outsourcing industries. However, these growth sectors are the exception, rather than the norm. In a largely agricultural country, there are huge internal wealth and income disparities across India. Given that India is a democratic state, the government has to be responsive to the demands of its citizens. As such, the existing pressure for the redistribution of wealth limits growth in military expenditure and consequently inhibits the ability of the state to turn India into a global power. It is not surprising to note that India’s military spending as a proportion of GDP has declined since the late 1990s. 4.Signs of stagnation:

At the core of the argument that India will not become a global power is the fact that it faces an insurmountable demographic challenge. From our point of view, as a result of this, there is little expectation that India will grow exponentially wealthier over time. What is this demographic challenge? Well, an analysis of global population trends shows that over time, most likely by 2025, India will become the world’s most populous nation. But much of this growth is taking place in two states: Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. These two states are India’s largest and third largest states (with a combined population of 302m), but also India’s two poorest states (with a per capita income ranging from US$347 to US$450 a year). In this light, vibrant economic growth is unlikely to be sustainable in India. We are already witnessing the first signs of stagnation in the Indian economy. In order for India to be a global power in the 21st century, it would need to develop its military capabilities and diminish its dependence on natural resources. The country would also have to devote substantial fiscal resources towards military expenditure. Given the burden of a rapidly growing poor and unskilled population, it is hard to fathom how the Indian state will be able to allocate scarce resources into making it a militarily and economically powerful nation. 5.Illiteracy:

Illiteracy is the mother of all issues as it gives birth to many other issues like poverty, unemployment, child labour, female foeticide, population burst and many more. It is very hard to digest that the land of the Vedas is one of the countries with the highest illiteracy levels and shows the inability of our government to utilize programs like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and National Literacy Mission. Literacy is a reasonably good indicator of development in a society. A person aged seven and above, who can both read and write with any understanding in any language, is treated as literate. As per 2001 Census, the overall literacy rate of India is 65.38%. The difference between the highest and the lowest literacy rate in India is very high. Kerala has the highest literacy rate which is 90.92 %, while Bihar has the lowest with 47.53 %.Illiteracy in India is characterized by wide gaps between the urban and rural populations. Even amongst the male and female population, there is a wide disparity in literacy.

The male literacy rate is 75.96% and female literacy rate is 54.28%. The social system in India promotes education for the male gender while the female population, especially in the deep interiors of the country, is kept away from schools. The Supreme Court in its 1993 ruling held that children had a fundamental right to free education. Ex – President A.P.J Abdul Kalam gave his assent to the Constitution (83rd Amendment) Bill, 2000, and the “right to education” was incorporated in the Constitution as a fundamental right. India is developing but at a very slow rate, this is not the fault of a corrupt government; it is due to this problem of illiteracy only. A literate person is aware of all his fundamental rights and duties. Neglecting the issue of illiteracy can hurt the development of India very badly. 6.Infrastructure:

The United Nation’s State of the World Cities Report 2012/2013 has ranked Delhi, the Indian capital, 58 and Mumbai, the commercial capital, at 52 out of 95 cities, way below Beijing, Shanghai or any other world-class city.

More than anything else, the rankings reflect India’s poor infrastructure. Roads in Kolkata and Mumbai constitute 5 per cent and 11 per cent respectively of total urban land, compared to 20–30 per cent in most US cities. Hit the road, and the eerie feeling of being an unsafe pedestrian takes over. With rapid urbanisation, roads are made to feel narrow even as they are widened due to an influx of vehicles. Poor public transport systems, which carry only around one-fifth of commuters, make matters worse. With a 19 per cent drop in domestic air travel by large companies, aviation too is facing challenges. The benefits of foreign investment in aviation, the upper limit on which was recently raised to 49 per cent, are still far away. There are contradictions galore. India began building roads in 4000 BC, and had a road network of over 4,320,000 kilometers in 2011, the world’s second largest. India has 0.66 kilometers of roads per square kilometre of land, which makes the quantitative density of its road network similar to the United States (0.65) and higher than Brazil (0.20) or China (0.16).

India’s roads range from modern highways to unpaved roads, and are improving in quality quickly. But because its population is so large, India has less than 4 kilometers of road for every 1000 people. The study showed that railways were lagging far behind in infrastructure development, as only 1750 kilometers of new lines were added from 2006–11. In the same period China added 4000 kilometers, as well as a high-speed network of around 10,000 kilometers. The report also emphasized growing difficulties in handling port traffic. The 13 major ports in India, as well as its 60 operational non-major ports, are responsible for 70 per cent of India’s external trade by value, and 95 per cent by volume. Port traffic has increased at a compound annual growth rate of 8.1 per cent, up to 84.6 million tones, with an average utilization of 90 per cent, as compared to the international average of 70 per cent.

India’s national highways carry around 40 per cent of road traffic, but constitute only 1.7 per cent of the road network. Of the country’s national highways, only 24 per cent are four-lane and meet the standards required. The report also found that infrastructure facilities like roads, railways and ports have under-achieved their investment targets in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan by 11 per cent, 23 per cent and 54 per cent respectively. India is woefully short of warehousing and cold storage facilities, as a result of which about 40 per cent of home-grown fruits, vegetables and food grain perish before they get to market. This adds to inflationary trends. Beginning this year, for the next five years, India plans to spend US$1 trillion on transport. For roads, ports, airports and energy, there is a long way to go. 7.Brain Drain:

The pattern of Brain Drain has caught the public eye recently. One lakh Indian professionals leave India every year to take jobs in the US. The resource loss of this brain drain is up to two billion per year. As a result India tends to lose its crème de la crème to the developed nations .Over the past few years corruption has emerged as a real menace to the Indian society. It has seeped down into almost every organisation The UNDP estimates that India loses $2 billion a year because of the emigration of computer experts to the U.S. Indian students going abroad for their higher studies costs India a foreign exchange outflow of $10 billion annually. Thousands of Indian scientists, doctors, engineers and other qualified persons have migrated and are staying in other countries. Every year hundreds of our best brains make frantic efforts to leave India. The demand for passports is increasing every year, even though more and more employment opportunities are being created within the country.

The steady outflow of our nation’s talent, especially those educated, at the cost of the tax payers‟ money, has caused concern to the government. Due to high salary and facilities Indian youth is moving abroad. One reason as to why the developed countries prosper is because of the high intellectual migrants from the poor developing countries. This „knowledge gap‟ is increasing and the poor countries are becoming poorer and rich countries are emerging as knowledge countries and they are ruling the world. In one other way globalization has helped in retaining the skilled people within the country, because a person can work for a foreign company sitting at home in India. But in reality he is working for an overseas country not for his own nation. 8.Corruption in India:

It is a major issue that adversely affects its economy. Politicians exemplify open corruption. Large amount of black money lies in the Swiss Banks. There is rampant black marketing , unscrupulous, dishonest dealings. The tyranny of bribery and ransom are crippling the society. A study conducted by Transparency International in year 2005 found that more than 62% of Indians had firsthand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices successfully. In its study conducted in year 2008, Transparency International reports about 40% of Indians had firsthand experience of paying bribes or using a contact to get a job done in public office. In 2012 India has ranked 94th out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, tied with Benin, Colombia, Djibouti, Greece, Moldova, Mongolia, and Senegal. Most of the largest sources of corruption in India are entitlement programmes and social spending schemes enacted by the Indian government. Examples include Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and National Rural Health Mission. Other daily sources of corruption include India’s trucking industry which is forced to pay billions in bribes annually to numerous regulatory and police stops on its interstate highways.

Indian media has widely published allegations of corrupt Indian citizens stashing trillions of dollars in Swiss banks. Swiss authorities, however, deny these allegations. The causes of corruption in India include excessive regulations, complicated taxes and licensing systems, numerous government departments each with opaque bureaucracy and discretionary powers, monopoly by government controlled institutions on certain goods and services delivery, and the lack of transparent laws and processes. There are significant variations in level of corruption as well as in state government efforts to reduce corruption across India. As of December 2008, 120 of India’s 523 parliament members were accused of crimes, under India’s First Information Report procedure wherein anyone can allege another of committing a crime. Many of the biggest scandals since 2010 have involved very high level government officials, including Cabinet Ministers and Chief Ministers, such as in the 2G spectrum scam (1760 billion), the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam (700 billion), the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the Coal Mining Scam (1860 billion), the Mining Scandal in Karnataka and the Cash for Vote scam.

Steps enroute to become a Super-power:In the language of development ,India is categorized as a developing country. However ,things are changing at a fast pace. India is aspiring to become an economic and technological power and there are strong reasons to believe this. Business Week and Business World believe that in the near future India will become an R&D hub of Asia and the world. India is also emerging as a BPO giant which is growing at one hundred billion dollars employing about ten million employees .In terms of technical superiority every third technical personnel in the world is an Indian. There are more scientists and engineers in the city of Bangalore than in the Silicon Valley. Indian IT exports are of the order of thirty billion dollars. Today India is the top world nation in citation per GDP per ca-pita per year ,has hundred and six billion US dollars in reserves and has a high domestic saving capacity of twenty four percent. The so called developed nations are finding India as a land of plethora of opportunities .Seventy multinationals have set up their operations India. Overall an economic giant in the making. India has also made rapid advances in the field of nuclear power.

From Call centres to tax returns, from medical diagnosis to equity research, from the OSCARS to international forums India has marked its presence in almost every other field. The famous thinker Peter Drucker in an interview to the Fortune magazine said that “India is becoming a powerhouse very fast .The medical school in New Delhi is perhaps the best in the world and the technical graduates of Indian Institute Of Information Technology in Bangalore are as good as any in the world. Also India has one fifty million people for whom English is their main language. So India is becoming a knowledge center”.No wonder the inventor of zeros has added innumerable zeros to its achievements. With nearly 1.1 billion inhabitants, India is the second largest country on earth in population, and seventh largest in geographical area, over 1.1 million square miles. Although India still faces many challenges, it is now poised to reach a higher position on the world scene than at any previous time.

The Indian economy has grown an average of around 6% annually over the past decade and 8% per year over the past three years—among the fastest rates in the world. It boasts an emerging middle class and increasing gross domestic product, exports, employment and foreign investment. This is complemented by a roaring stock market (index value up by a third in 2005 and by 200% since 2001), low external debt and large foreign exchange reserves. Recent visits from leaders and officials from the United States, France, Germany and Russia have spotlighted India’s rise. These wealthier nations see India as a trading partner with enormous potential. India’s growth becomes more impressive in light of the fact that it is driven by a fraction of its population. There are gleaming, glass-paned high-tech towers, condominium blocks, multiplexes, and shopping malls, where Indians dine at Ruby Tuesday, browse for Samsung electronics, or kick the tires at a Toyota, Ford, or Chevy dealer. Following points make the idea of India becoming a superpower realistic:

10.Intellectual Capital:
India’s economy is divided between agriculture (which accounts for a quarter of the gross national product), manufacturing (constituting another quarter) and the high-tech service sector, which now makes up fully half of the gross national product. Striving to become a “knowledge superpower,” it hopes to skip the intermediate step of industrial development that has preceded other nations’ march into the Information Age. Scientific and information technology companies from around the world are opening research and development labs in India—more than 100 in the past five years. One mainstay of the new economy is software development, with ever more global firms outsourcing to India the time-intensive work of programming. Businesses worldwide also rely on the country for customer service—phone calls from around the world are directed to call centres in Indian cities such as Bangalore. Other developing markets include pharmaceutical and biotechnology research.

Currently, the majority of top American companies send some of their IT work to India, and there is little evidence of a slowdown in this trend. The business world is also looking in India’s direction. Graduates of the nation’s business programs are in high demand among multinational corporations, with each graduating class commanding a higher average salary than the one before. Those who complete MBA degrees at schools such as the Indian Institute of Management can now expect starting salaries ranging from $75,000 (USD) at Indian firms to over $200,000 outside the country. This is comparable to graduates of top American business schools such as Harvard, Stanford and Dartmouth—testimony to the market value of Indian talent in this area of study. 11.Military Buildup:

As its clout has grown, India has placed a high priority on improving its military capabilities as well. New Delhi has not joined 187 other nations in signing the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), and appeared on the world’s radar screen as a nuclear-armed nation in May 1998, with the detonation of five warheads in the desert near the border of Pakistan. India maintains a “no first strike” nuclear policy, and asserts that it only seeks enough nuclear weaponry to effectively deter aggressors. Whatever its nuclear aspirations, the country has a long military shopping list. Last year, it announced plans to build the first aircraft carrier ever put to sea by a developing nation, and to lease two nuclear submarines from Russia. America has openly discussed the sale of naval vessels, combat aircraft, patrol aircraft and helicopters to India. One former U.S. ambassador to India opined, “Of course we should sell advanced weaponry to India. The million-man Indian army actually fights, unlike the post-modern militaries of many of our European allies” (The Economist).

India continues to enhance its land-based ballistic missile arsenal with a robust development and testing regime. The solid-fueled Agni-V intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), which has a range of over 5,000 km, has undergone two successful test flights. The 4,000 km Agni-IV ballistic missile will soon be ready for induction into the armed forces. At the same time, India is developing its maritime strategic forces; for instance, the nuclear reactor for the INS Arihant nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) recently achieved criticality. When this submarine, which was developed with Russian assistance, becomes operational and is equipped with submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), India will have a complete triad of land-based and sea-based ballistic missiles as well as heavy bombers. India also continues to engage in cruise missile development, particularly the BrahMos hypersonic missile, which is also produced with Russian assistance. The Indian Ministry of Defense’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) oversees these multifaceted efforts. India appears to have attained a considerable degree of domestic capability regarding ballistic missile development, while it continues to rely on foreign support in other areas, such as cruise missiles, submarines, and ballistic missile defence. 12.Satellite Launch Vehicles

India has developed a sophisticated space technology system over the past few decades that plays a significant role in sectors ranging from agriculture to medicine.The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched more than 70 satellites since the space programme was set up in 1969 “for various scientific and technological applications”, including “mobile communications, meteorological observations, telemedicine, tele-education, disaster warning, radio networking, search and rescue operations, remote sensing and scientific studies of the space. India has established a strong infrastructure for realizing its space programme which include facilities for the development of satellites and launch vehicles and their testing; launch infrastructure for sounding rockets and satellite launch vehicles; telemetry, tracking and command network; data reception and processing systems for remote sensing. India’s bid to become the first Asian nation to reach Mars sets a new benchmark for frugal interplanetary travel and puts it in a perfect position to grab more of the Dh1 trillion global space market. The mission’s price, a record-low Dh268 million, “has been an eye-opener of sorts” for the world. India already ranks among the top six space-faring nations in technological capabilities – the others being the US, Russia, China, France and Japan. 13.“Kings of the East”:

We need not merely guess where world events will ultimately lead. While many of the details remain to be seen, the overall framework of the future has been recorded in advance in one book—the Holy Bible. In nations such as India, the size of population alone pulls them toward superpower status. Bible prophecy describes global power blocs—superpowers, or groups of superpowers—that will be prominent at the end of the age, shortly before Jesus Christ returns. These powers will be based in the north (Europe), the south (the Arab world), and the “kings of the East”—a group of Asian nations that will band together, eventually fielding a standing army of two hundred million (Rev. 16:12; 9:16; Dan. 11)!The nations of the West, including the United States, are headed for hard times as a result of their national and personal sins against the God that inspired the Bible.

He reveals that they will be forsaken by their allies, called “lovers” in Scripture:“And when you are spoiled, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, though you deck yourself with ornaments of gold, though you rend your face with painting, in vain shall you make yourself fair; your lovers will despise you, they will seek your life…All your lovers have forgotten you; they seek you not; for I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of your iniquity; because your sins were increased” (Jer. 4:30; 30:14).India is today one of these “lovers,” but one that will soon prove to be something very different. So will other nations that Western countries now consider to be allies. Keep watching India’s growth toward superpower status—just one part of the inevitable rise of Asia! 14.Conclusion:

However, where there is a will there is a way. India has a strong cultural background ,an exemplary history, world gurus, top corporate leaders, natural resources ,every prerequisite to become a superpower. If Japan the weakest economy in the developed world can rebound after the second world war ,India too can emerge as a phoenix. The need of the hour is a clear strategic plan and a strong political agenda .Elimination of poverty and illiteracy should be recognized as national priorities .There is a strong need for change in the mindset of people both citizens and decision makers. The time has come to start settling our own houses in order, for the youth to fasten their belts and work relentlessly for eradicating poverty and illiteracy . It took our leaders decades to draw the attention of masses towards the virtuous act of seeking freedom. But once the masses woke up ,their voices reached a crescendo which toppled the might of an empire. An empire where ‘the sun never sets’ .Let the clarion call come again. Let us awake ,arise and strive endlessly till the goal of “making India a superpower ” is achieved .After all the word Impossible itself says that “I aM POSSIBLE”.

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