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Thursday, 14 September, 2000, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Can India become a major world player?

A declared nuclear state with a population of one billion people and an emerging power in information technology. Is India strong enough to be a leading nation in the 21st Century?

South Asia
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is currently in the US in an attempt to put the relationship between India and the US on a new footing. Has Washington finally woken up to India's potential?

Is India finally preparing to emerge as a key player on the world stage?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

The country has too many problems to worry about and needs to get its priorities right

John Doe, USA
I recently spent two months in New Delhi and I see no way that India could become either a superpower or a country of influence in the world. The poverty and spread of disease is rampant. Also, the caste system still exists even if the Government claims it does not. Go to India and find out for yourself. The country has too many problems to worry about and needs to get its priorities right.
John Doe, USA

India can never become a superpower unless it tackles the issue of alarming population growth.
Pavanasam Ramesh, UK

India which is changing from a secular state to a Hindu fundamentalist one has little chance of becoming a world leader. If she can't even protect her minorities how can she represent the whole world? Just having a billion people, a few employed in the IT industry and US friendship is not enough to make this country a superpower. I would say that in order to survive she has to make peace with her neighbours and stop following this illusion.
Ahmad, Canada/ Pakistan

All we need is to get free from the shackles of illiteracy and corruption

Saket Rungta, India/ UK
All we need is to get free from the shackles of illiteracy and corruption; and then India will ARISE and AWAKE.
Saket Rungta, India/ UK

India's leadership has performed extremely well, internationally as well as domestically, although, against heavy odds i.e., international discrimination, always at war with Pakistan etc. However, after a great deal of hard work and prudence, finally the Indian leadership with the implementation of its positive policies is able to make its presence felt across the globe. There is no doubt in my mind that soon the world will accept India as an equivalent of superpower and the credit goes to its politicians and of course its people.
Nadeem Saqib, USA

How can people see India as a superpower, when it could not solve the Kashmir problem with Pakistan in the last 50 years?
NI, Canada

India can certainly become a world power in the 21st century with all the rich and intelligent human resources she has. It will be only a matter of time before this is achieved.
Raj Mahraj, USA

The vast majority of the Indian population has not attained the social freedom let alone clean water and health care. This is because of the tyranny of the so-called upper strata of society that does not want to accommodate lower class people in the nation building. Once each and every Indian attains social freedom, no one can stop this nation becoming a superpower.
Natarajan Tamilarasu, India/ USA

India has given birth to some of the greatest leaders, scientists and thinkers of the millennium. It has all the natural resources that make a country self-sufficient and has a massive talent pool. Indian success in IT is nothing unexpected. Its nuclear program is for indigenous and for peaceful purposes only, unlike few others.

If India is not strong enough to raise a finger and stop an apparent genocide in Sri Lanka, at its door step, how can it be a super power?

Mariasegarm Pillai, Australia
If India is not strong enough to raise a finger and stop an apparent genocide in Sri Lanka, at its door step, how can it be a super power? No doubt it is a true democratic country but her foreign policy of non-interference can only produce an abstract world of non-possessive yogis.
Mariasegarm Pillai, Australia

One can't expect everybody to be rich in a country with more than one billion people. India has got its own problem same as almost all other countries in this world but this won't stop her from becoming a superpower as India's people are its biggest asset and very soon they will turn the largest democracy in the world into a super power.
Arif Shaikh, UK

India's IT prowess is a case in point

Akki, India
India is certainly on the right path. India's IT prowess is a case in point. As long as this nation focuses on economic issues and doesn't worry too much about its relentlessly idiotic neighbours, it will certainly achieve great strides for its citizens. India's neighbours will NEVER change and India should not allow itself to be dragged down along with them.
Akki, India

India may indeed become the world's next super-power, and fortunately it is a democratic nation (however loosely that term is applied). It is also part of the people's culture (the Hindu religion) to value the virtues of hard work.
However, despite the obvious benefits of industrialisation and development in India, thought should also go to the long-term consequences. Already, the earth cannot sustain the present number of people living in either the industrialised or industrialising world. Globalisation is stripping the livelihoods of the worlds' poorest people away. Another developed nation would be environmentally disastrous.
Suzanne, Australia

I think India is on the right track of being a world power. Its growing importance in various world issues and its ever-improving world image as a solid base for IT, Biotechnology, fashion and others are a sure sign.
But as long as the old and persistent problems of corruption, red tape, poor health care service and its poor record for improving the education levels are not reduced, it will be difficult for herself to maintain this growth.
Sridhar Kilambi, Singapore/India

Opportunities should be provided so that Indians don't think of leaving this country

Ratish Nambiar, India
Will India be a superpower? A question only time can tell. The fact that Indians are sought after by various countries talks of the immense human resources potential this country possesses. But this huge potential has to be tapped to the fullest for India to succeed on all fronts.
The 'Brain Drain' has to be checked. Opportunities should be provided so that Indians don't think of leaving this country. Then only can India succeed in its dreams of being a superpower.
Ratish Nambiar, India

Yes, it is true that India is poor and it is yet to provide basic needs to its people. But the way things are going in terms of policy both domestic and international, sure India is bound to become a superpower may be in another 15-20 years time with or without the help of world community.
Venkat Desai, Tokyo, Japan

Nuclear weapons do not make a country a super power, it's the unity among the people that work together for the common interest.
Fazal Khan, USA

As a nation, it has failed miserably

Karthikeyan, Singapore
How can India even think of becoming a superpower, when it cannot even solve its most fundamental problems? India has only so far shown itself to be capable of producing a few (with respect to the total population) capable individuals, who have made it big abroad. As a nation, it has failed miserably.
For a country of such magnitude of diversity, a few centuries are needed to reach a state of sustained development. Greed of power and patriotic fanaticism are no substitutes for a focussed rational approach to the issue of the nation's development.
Karthikeyan, Singapore

India's people are its biggest asset and they will determine how rapidly the country develops into a superpower

G. Singh, UK
There is no denying that despite all the problems and hurdles, India continues to make leaps and strides in all fields. Its people are its biggest asset and they will determine how rapidly the country develops into a superpower. The only question is how quickly the world comes to realise and accept this eventuality.
G. Singh, UK

Casting a blind eye towards the atrocities being committed by the Indian forces in Kashmir and allowing India to achieve its hegemonic goals would be the biggest mistake the world community could make. India's attempts at gaining a permanent seat at the UN should be blocked and all efforts made to keep this brute majority in check.
Ali Hameed, USA

India is not yet ready to be a super-power but it is surely on the right path. In my opinion, it will take a whole generation's hard work, strong will and insight to make that happen.
S. Shah, India/ USA

India is a country ranked amongst the world's poorest, where majority of its children are malnourished, its citizens have no access to clean water or safe drugs, child slavery is rife - the list goes on. Any Indian with a little education will take the opportunity to leave the country, given half a chance and those who remain have little or no opportunities. Its per capita income is amongst the lowest in the world.
Saty Bose, Australia

India needs to put its own house in order before it looks to lead the rest of the world

Shoiab M, Saudi Arabia
India needs to put its own house in order before it looks to lead the rest of the world. We must not forget that India is fundamentalist country led by Hindu extremists who want to rule by force, for example in Kashmir. India wants to join the UN yet it does not believe in its rules and principles and will not implement its resolutions on Kashmir.
Shoiab M, Saudi Arabia

Without basic needs like clean water, electricity, healthcare, basic telephone and education infrastructure, you can't call India a superpower. We have lots of religion and cast conflicts yet people still are fighting for one meal a day.
Yogesh Deshpande, Tokyo, Japan

A permanent SC seat is certainly deserved by a country which stands for peace and not war, which values its minorities and not its nuclear arsenal, which takes pride in good relations with its neighbours and not its military might and which has implemented the UN resolutions on disputed territories. Can we find these in India?
Mohsin Masood, Pakistan

India is already a superpower. It is for the rest of the world to realise that.
Somdev Roy, USA

India has always been a superpower in its philosophical ideas and dogmas. The question is whether the Indians have realised it. From time immemorial, India has attracted people from all corners of world and is the only country which has paved the way to enrich and shape human behaviour harmoniously. Therefore, India has been always a superpower for those who have renounced this materialistic world.
Vignesh Murugesan, India/ Russia

I think India is quickly moving in the right direction: nuclear power; information technology; external firms in India and Bollywod, to name just a few. Those who think that India is a loser will wake up one day to see that the country is 100 years ahead of them and is becoming one of the major player in the world.
Moazam Chaudhry, Lahore, Pakistan

India does have the resources to be a significant world power. However, I am not sure about it being a superpower. Sorry to say, the country is widely divided due to different races and religions and the gap among the elements is getting wider everyday.
Ali Saiful, Malaysia

India has a long way to go before becoming a superpower

A. Dasgupta, UK
India has a long way to go before becoming a superpower. It needs to correct its blatant difference in wealth, provide healthcare and education for all. Possessing nuclear weapons and satisfying the middle class with IT technology does not make a country superpower.
A. Dasgupta, UK

It is premature to conclude that India is a superpower. But it is definitely a major world power and may in future be a superpower. India should act calmly and resolutely to solve all thorny issues in South Asia first and then lead the South Asians to economic prosperity. Only then it will have what it takes to be a superpower.
Nurul Hassan, Pakistan

India one day will definitely be a world power, but it will take time. Economic progress is the only way that India can assert itself in the global market and IT is the key. But it will require a lot of bold decisions and the maturity of her leaders. But the future is definitely bright for India - the Elephant is ready to rule.
Chirag Mehta, USA

As long as corruption is found in India, it can't be become a superpower.
Gopal Krishna Kotni, India

India has certainly made its intentions clear. Its IT strength in spite of its poverty, and its sincere commitment to secularism in spite of its diversity, is creditable. Becoming a world player is certain, but whether India can become a superpower is something only time will tell.
Pat, USA

India had always been a major player in world affairs, either by being the cradle of a nascent civilisation or by giving the world its two largest religions, Hinduism and Buddhism. The future role for India lies in its inherent ability to live up to its philosophies of Ahimsa or non-violence and compassion by eschewing nuclear weapons and making peace with Pakistan. The label 'superpower' means nothing to the average Indian who would rather be proud to see his Motherland as an example of peace and non-violence than as a nuclear-power with the capability to destroy, and not to build.
Jagan Mohan, Russian Federation

Earlier this year, the Japanese Prime Minister chose to stop at Bangalore first and address Indian IT before going on to customary and political New Delhi. Germany has overcome far-right reactions to open its doors to Indian IT professionals. The US with its cultural melting pot was of course the earliest to secure Indian IT interest. Could the workers of the new e-world be the foundation for a more central role for the country in world affairs with Bangalore as its capital?
B. K. B. Navilae, India

The world is only beginning to notice India's potential

Nikhil, India
This will be India's century. The world is only beginning to notice India's potential.
Nikhil, India

Russia was a military superpower for four decades but it did not prevent that country from descending into total chaos. Rampant corruption, money laundering, a declining per-capita income and internal strife plague that country today. India too, faces many of these problems and it needs to address these issues first.
Vish, India/ USA

Who says India is an IT leader? The fact is that India's share in information technology is less than five percent. Moreover, being a nuclear power does not grant it the right to be a superpower when there are children dying of malnutrition, millions scavenging food particles out of garbage to survive. Human rights are sacrificed in the name of national interest. How can you even think of such a country being a superpower?
Omar Suufi, USA

Its population is firmly committed to democratic values

Vinod Dawda, UK
India has managed to drag itself significantly from the destructive aspects of abject poverty, illiteracy and intolerance over the last fifty years. Its population is firmly committed to democratic values and traditionally it has a resourceful population willing to bring results through hard work. There is little doubt that it will be a superpower in the 21st century. What is hoped that it will be a super power that harnesses the best of its philosophical and cultural heritage in contributing towards human progress.
Vinod Dawda, UK

Perhaps the only reason why India is not considered a superpower is because of its stand on several issues ranging from Tibet to the CTBT. Every Indian should be proud of India's stand on these issues, and not succumbing to international pressure.
Indranil, UK

India has certainly proved over the past 50 years that a political system that is open, democratic and representative can survive, even prosper, in an otherwise hostile neighbourhood. Now if this system can dump some of the failed dogma and move on, there is no doubt that India will be a much stronger and prosperous country and a beacon of hope in Asia where the suitability of an open political system has often been questioned.
Ashesh, USA

Being awarded a "superpower" status does nothing to improve living conditions for the cross section of the population. "Superpower" status should be awarded to countries that provide basic quality of life to citizens.
Joe Fenn, USA

I think India should get a permanent seat at the UN like the US, UK, Russia, China, and France. This is because India is a leading player in Asia, and she is the largest democratic country in the world.
Green Valiant, USA

India has been held back for decades because of socialism, lack of good governance and communalism thanks to the Congress party. The BJP is a much more serious player and not communal like Congress. Greater commercial freedom and the removal of a huge subsidy burden will unleash huge economic growth in India and a commensurate rise in political and military power.
Aniruddha, USA

Having 1 billion population does not mean the country is a superpower

Fardeen Chowdhry, UK
Having 1 billion population does not mean the country is a superpower. India has hundreds of millions of people under the poverty line and all kinds of internal ethnic and natural crisis going on. Nuclear weapons have not done anything good for the region. When India can provide the mass of its population with a basic standard of living with human rights then India can enter the superpower race.
Fardeen Chowdhry, UK

India is the largest democracy in the world and a leader in information technology. The time is ripe and the next two steps for the nation should be to combat poor education levels and population control. That will make the nation accelerate its speed towards becoming a superpower. The stage is set and India needs to play its role.
Rahul Dhir, UK

Superpower status will not be easy to come by and cannot be achieved only through military might or IT dominance. Nevertheless these are important stepping stones.
Srikanth Ranganathan, India/USA

India has been preparing to take its rightful place on the world stage for many years now. However it is the rest of the world that is only now, beginning to notice. It is sad to admit that these days the only way to be recognised on the World's stage is to be a nuclear power.
Arup Dutta, Canada

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07 Sep 00 | South Asia
Vajpayee due in United States
07 Sep 00 | World
UN summit agenda
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