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Can India achieve superpower status ?

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The people of India have often dreamt that their country will become superpower. Their belief is based on the fact that for the past few years, there are great changes social, economic, scientific and military aspects of the country. Political experts have also considered India as one of the possible emerging superpowers of the world along with China, Brazil, Russia and European Union. Currently, only the United States fulfills the criteria to be considered a superpower. Let us know further whether India is doing in various sectors and understand how far we are from becoming a superpower.

What is a superpower?

A superpower is a country which has the capacity to project dominating power and influence anywhere in the world. Currently, the United States is the only country which fulfills the criteria to be considered a superpower. Superpower status is achieved by combining means of technological, cultural, military and economic strength as well as diplomatic and soft power influence.

Advantages:

Reasons for the growing pride among Indians are not hard to find. In terms of economy, based on purchasing power parity, the Indian economy is the world's third-largest. High-tech centers including Bangalore and Hyderabad, have given way to rise of top IT companies like Infosys and Wipro. Besides, TCS, HCL, Tech Mahindra are among the international elite in their industry.

When it comes to telecom, India is currently the world's second-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.20 billion. India has as many cell phone users; almost nowhere is the telecom industry growing faster. Indian Television industry has more than 400 private television channels and has an overall market size of $22.5 billion. The subcontinent is also making great strides in renewable energy sectors like Solar and wind power.

When it comes to defence, Indian Air Force stands at number 4 in the list of strongest Air Force, India gets placed in 7th rank in the powerful navies’ list and Indian Army again placed in 4th position at the best army rankings. Though, India is now the world's largest weapons importer it is slowly becoming self reliant player. With sheer military size, India is now aggressively seeking a seat on the United Nations Security Council. It's also a nuclear power that has expanded its arsenal of warheads. Despite the strong displeasure among the powerful nations, India has no intention of signing the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. In terms of science and technology, the Indians have sent satellites into space some time ago, and have already launched some to Mars and the Moon.

Internal problems

But despite big advantages, there are a number of challenges which hold back the country. Some of them include degradation of liberal values, Naxal insurgency, trivialization of media, large scale corruption, instable politics due to multi-party governments. Apart from this, there are many major problems which are listed out here.

Infrastructure:

The country's poor infrastructure is the "biggest hurdle’’ for becoming a super power nation. India faces problems about securing land and winning over segments of the population to go ahead with specific projects. Apart from this, the country is unable garner financial resources for infrastructure development. For example, New Delhi is our top city in terms of infrastructure, but it is nowhere near to a city like New York or even Hong Kong. Besides, roads and bridges, India in basic issues like water, housing and schools. In electricity, there are thousands of villages without proper electricity, besides, amount of power cuts is another matter. India is the second most populated country in the world and within few years it growth rate will be around 1.6 %. But the comparatively, growth rate of Indian real estate has been at par with its population, but still a house remains a dream for millions of India. For the past few decades, trend of nuclear families in India has increased and grown multi folds this has led to the increase in the demand for houses by leaps and bounds in urban areas. In rural areas, the expansion of villages into towns and towns into cities has also contributed to the increase in real estate’s demand and fueled the need for more houses. According to a UN Report, India has only 31% of the total population uses improved sanitation and 85 % of the total population has access to drinking water.

Rich – poor divide

India's richest, who are just 1 per cent of its 1.3 billion people, garner around 73 per cent of the wealth generated in the 2017-18. But, the wealth of the poorest half of Indians around 70 crore - rose by only one per cent, according to a report given by Oxfam. The report further said that the wealth of India's elite went up last year by Rs 20,913 billion -- an amount equivalent to the government's total budget in 2017-18. Economists have offered solutions that are taxing the super-rich by re-introducing an inheritance tax, increasing wealth tax, reducing and eventually removing with corporate tax breaks could be a game changer. But nothing has been concrete.

Governance

India has top professionals in every field and are world class and their number is rising by the day. But the politicians are rated the worst among the world. According to the election commission of India, one-third of the Lok Sabha consists of charge sheeted politicians. In most top countries corruption politicians exist, but in India, they rule the country.

Conclusion

India is admired by the world for its tradition and richness of its culture. But more need to be done on the economic, political sides. India should not necessarily be loved, but respected by its neighbours. For many years, US has always faced the perception of acting as a big brother. But one must note that its huge economy and political power make its respectable and dictate terms in the world.

Though it is nice to dream about India becoming superpower, have many friends and be able set the rules of the game, the Indian needs more clarity on what it wants to do when it becomes a power to reckon with.

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