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Will India Become A Superpower In Coming Decades?

Will India Become A Superpower In Coming Decades?

Assistant Editor

11 May, 2019

There is no agreed definition of what is a superpower, the characteristics that are consistent with various interpretations of a superpower is a nation or state that has mastered all the seven dimensions of power that is geography, economy, population, resources, diplomacy, military, and national identity. In this article, we will discuss these aspects of Superpower about India. 

How can India become a superpower Group Discussion

India as an Economic Superpower

India economy is the 7th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the 3rd largest by purchasing power parity. However, India ranks poorly at 139th in per capita GDP (nominal) and 122nd in per capita GDP (PPP) as of 2018. After 1991, India achieved 6 to 7% average GDP growth annually. Since 2014 with exception of 2017, the economy has been the world's fastest-growing major economy.

Economists rate long-term growth perspective of the economy as positive due to various factors like healthy savings and investment rates, young population, and increasing integration into the global economy. 

India possesses one of the fastest growing service sectors in the world in 2012–13 it contributed to 57% of GDP. India has become a major exporter of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services, IT services, and software services, this is the fastest-growing part of the economy.

Superpower in Geography

India lies in the region of Indian Ocean, which has unmatched potential for growth in the transoceanic commerce, with many Eurasian and Afro-Asian sea-trade routes passing through or close to Indian territorial waters.

India is a region in the sunny tropical belt, the subcontinent can greatly benefit from a renewable energy trend, as it has a combination of both, high solar insolation and a big consumer base.

India as a Population Superpower

India is the 2nd most populous country in the world. According to 2017 revision of the World Population Prospects, the population then stood at 1,324,171,354.

India has more than 50% population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. In 2020, it is expected that the average age of an Indian will be 29 years. This provides the nation with a huge workforce for many decades, which will help in its growth.

Superpower in Natural Resources

Tourism: India is a historic place with a diverse history. In 2005 about 3.9 million tourists travelled to India and each spent approximately $1,470, higher than that of France.

Energy: In future, the world is expected to enter the renewable-energy age or even further into fusion power age, whenever these become economically sustainable. India has 25% of the world's thorium resources.

Metallic minerals: Metallic minerals available from India are iron ore, zinc, manganese ore, gold, bauxite, lead, silver, tin, copper and chromite.

Superpower in Military:

The Military of India maintains the 2nd largest active-duty force in the world, while the Paramilitary Forces are the 2nd largest paramilitary force. Total armed forces of India are 2,414,700, world's 3rd largest force.

Army: The Indian Army is the world's largest army in total numbers of armed personnel.

Air force: Indian Air Force is the 4rth largest in the world. India is developing the fifth generation stealth aircraft.

Navy: The Indian Navy is the world's 5th largest, having blue-water capabilities with a sophisticated aircraft carrier, missile-capable warships, minesweepers, advanced submarines and the latest aircraft in its inventory.

Superpower in Space

India destroyed a low-earth orbit satellite in space on March 27, moving into an elite club of nations that has mastered this anti-satellite (ASAT) missile technology, said PM Narendra Modi. PM was quick to point out the intent of DRDO's Mission Shakti is to defend India’s space assets. As no treaties are governing the use of ASAT, India is not in violation of any international conventions.

Superpower in diplomacy

India is the world's largest democratic republic and has so far been successful politically, especially considering its functionality.

India has developed relationships with world powers like Japan, Russia, European Union, and the United States. India also developed relationships with the African Union, the Arab World, Southeast Asia, Israel and South American nations. In order to make the environment favorable for economic growth, India is also investing on its relations with China. India signed a civilian nuclear deal with the United States in March 2006 and is also working for better relationships with Pakistan. 

Factors Against

Political obstacles

Representing International: India is not a permanent member of the UNSC, thus, it cannot extend its influence on international events.

Cost of democratic republic: It has its value, more so in a multi-ethnic country like India. The government has to consider many interest groups before decision making.

Insurgency: The government has acknowledged that there has been a dramatic increase in support for the Maoists insurgency in the last decade and Kashmir also remains on boil. 

Disputes: India's growth is obstructed by disputes with China and Pakistan and disputes with Bangladesh.

Economic obstacles

Unemployment: India's growth in the services sector and IT sector has not been matched by the growth in manufacturing that can provide more jobs.

Poverty: As of 2011, approx 21.9% of population lived below poverty line. India has been quite successfully reduced its share of poverty. However, the issue is far from resolved.

Infrastructure: Basic infrastructure such as roads, water, power grid, housing and education are often below standards, and not up to the economic progress. 

Energy dependence and costs: India highly depends on foreign oil. For now, India is energetically expensive since it has to import over 70% of energy that makes costs of comforts like car or even air conditioning extremely high.

Social issues

Low literacy: As per 2011 census, India's national literacy is only 74.04%.

Health: India's health scenario is depressing with diseases and malnutrition constantly affecting the poor. Mortality is relatively high and the bane of AIDS is spreading quickly. It is estimated that the economic growth will decline by 0.86 percentages annually if AIDS problem is not properly dealt.

Communal violence: India has a mix of various religions, majority are Hindus, followed by Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, and many more. The partition and terrorism had created some degree of uneasiness.

Social divide: This problem is often linked to India's caste system. To eliminate this, the government has introduced special quotas for low-caste Indians in educational institutions and jobs.

By: Aishwarya Sharma