India needs to assert its superpower arrival – Asia Times

India needs to assert its superpower arrival - Asia Times

India, which just overtakes China as the most populous nation, has the potential to grow the fastest globally and become the third-largest market in the next five years.

India exhibits the essential characteristics of a great energy, with its large geographic area making it the seventh-largest nation in the world and its military prowess earning it the fifth spot in the Global Firepower Index 2024.

In addition, India has a lively democracy, a solid IT industry, and a powerful diaspora community that has advanced significantly in terms of dominating global positions. Given that India was a poor nation only 75 years ago when it was freed from Western colonialism, this transformation is especially amazing.

This liberation, mainly realized in the social domain, has not yet been completely reflected in India’s social landscape. The supremacy of progressive- internationalist ideologies, propagated by European- educated leaders quite as Nehru and Menon, has frequently overshadowed India’s abundant cultural and intellectual traditions.

For example, esteemed functions like the Arthashastra were neglected until lately, symbolizing a disengage from India’s traditional success. In addition, the historical significance of places like the Ahom Dynasty of Assam is still unknown, and the importance of several important freedom fighters is overshadowed by the emphasis on certain numbers like Gandhi and Nehru in popular culture.

Following the establishment of a administrative, socialist state by the Congress Party, which for nearly 50 years deterred both foreign and domestic investment, the personality direction of India was further shaped by subsequent political leaders.

On the other hand, the Communist Party of India sought to resemble authoritarian regimes abroad, which came in far behind the Congress in terms of political leadership.

In fact, one of the slogans of a breakaway faction of the CPI – the CPI ( ML) – was,” China’s Chairman is our Chairman. Chinese way is our way”! This behavior aggravated a 20th-century identity crises that persisted later in the millennium.

With the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP), which has become more assertive, milestones like the 1998 nuclear tests, the successful moon landing mission ( Chandrayaan II ), the revocation of Article 370, and the carrying out of airstrikes in Pakistan as a result of its support of terrorism, India’s outlook began to change.

India regularly reviews and adjusts its political relationships, welcomes foreign capital, and does not hesitate to encourage private enterprise.

New Delhi has also abandoned its traditional view of the United States and abandoned any lingering ideals of overly optimistic relationships, such as the idea of Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai ( India and China are boys ).

Tomorrow’s India is more realistic in its arrangement than it has ever been since independence. But despite these great strides, problems persist. India’s reputation as a” soft state” has changed as a whole, leading to a more assertive pursuit of its interests, including using military force when necessary.

Measures are also necessary for the Indian Foreign Service, which should make it more strategic and not just a pawn in terms of global developments.

The IFS should be viewed as a professional company with its own hiring, which should include officials and experts from Indian government departments, think tanks, and academic institutions.

Importantly, India needs to work toward instilling a culture of strategic aggression and militarism to properly assert its position.

India should emphasize corporate objectives over caution, as demonstrated by its reaction to situations like the 2001 Parliament assaults and the 2008 Mumbai assaults, by shunning colonial legacy and Nehruvian moralities.

India must take note of Mao Zedong’s claim that “power grows out of the gun’s cylinder” in the quest for great power status. Purpose, backed by strength and power prediction capabilities, defines a world’s position in international relations, transcending social advocacy.

India’s quest to establish itself as a postcolonial power is at a crucial moment. Realizing its aspirations requires a complex strategy, balancing economic growth, military power and social resurgence, underpinned by a mindset of corporate ambition and assertiveness.

Shri Jyotishman Bhagawati is a senior research fellow at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi’s Academy of International Studies. He can be reached at bhagawati. [email protected].