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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
Can India become a global superpower?
Commuters alight from trains in Mumbai

Which issues concern you most about India's future?

India has the world's second largest population and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

But these are testing times for the country. Despite increased wealth and a burgeoning urban middle class, the vast majority of India's rural population remains illiterate and impoverished.

In the aftermath of last week's earthquake, India has offered assistance to Pakistan, which some hope could lead to closer relationships between the two countries.

What do you think of the government's response to the earthquake in South Asia? Is India's economic success sustainable? Will relations with Pakistan improve? Which issues concern you most about India's future?

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

Ambika Soni, spokesperson for the All India Congress Committee answered your questions in a special edition of Talking Point.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Economic growth will force better governance, and better governance will feed more economic growth
I came to the United States from India when I was three and a half. I've visited the country a few times since, and one thing I have noticed is how each and every time I go to India there is tangible economic improvement. It surprises me because the wealth generated is in spite of widespread political corruption, poor infrastructure, red tape at every level of business, sometimes militant labor unions, and inadequate social institutions. It gives an indication of the country's immense potential, and obviously it also presents the long journey to unleash that potential. I believe that as the economy continues to grow and the middle class broadens, the debate for more liberalization and better governance will grow. In effect, I hope economic growth will force better governance, and better governance will feed more economic growth.

Indian culture is centuries old and is bound-up in caste-oriented thinking. Until the caste system is destroyed (including changing people's last names which designate caste affiliation) there will be little opportunity and justice for the very poor. The "higher" castes will continue to prosper and the lower castes will continue to live in poverty. Percent increases in GDP and average income will reflect the progress of the well off, not the vast numbers of poor.
Michael, California, USA

I think the biggest problem which is holding India back is lack of social infrastructure. India today is a big emerging power in the Information Technology sector thanks to its limited educational system, which is not available to everybody. Still half of the population is unable to read or write. If India wants to really prosper in a healthy way it will have to find ways to distribute the benefits of development evenly in the society. Population can be capital but also a hindrance if not educated, healthy etc.
Rajesh, Ranchi

Corruption is the biggest problem in India. Huge amounts are spent on infrastructure and it will be a mess till there is some accountability. The average person is just trying to survive, they really don't care if the country becomes a superpower or not. My main worries during the day are how long will there be a power outage. How much will the cop extract from me. How many bumps on the road do I have to endure and will there be water in my house tonight. I pay taxes and I don't know where all the money goes, so don't talk of being a superpower. It's just a topic for people to discuss when they drive by me in their air conditioned cars.
Abhi, Pune, India

The superpower status for India is an unwanted title. With all its force and efforts, India still needs to do a lot to improve its rural infrastructure. In the field of education, India is surely a role model with its variety of institutions for studies in many subject fields to show the path for other developing countries.
C Sachidananda Narayanan, Tirunelveli, India

The development and growth pace of India is fast enough. But what we need to be changed is a bit of political structure and almost all the politicians. As I see we are lacking in the leaders from each provinces. We have good leaders on top like our president and prime minister, but what about the other politicians, parliament members and small party leaders? I think we need to have proper rules to be implemented by election commissions, like no mafia/crooks should be allowed. No individual with a single police case.
Parthiv Shah, Baroda, India

The people and communities at large feel that they don't have the ability to make a difference
Juzar Singh Sangha, Bedford
It is essential for the general public at large to have faith in social law and government policies and agendas. I would like to see India prosper into a less class driven society whereby the countries wealth is more evenly distributed across its vast population. The people and communities at large feel that they don't have the ability to make a difference, without this cohesive approach I fear that India will not meet its wider objectives.
Juzar Singh Sangha, Bedford

The biggest issue is of poverty and infrastructure, these are the two basic problems which India is facing from the past few decades. When ever we want to represent India, we all give stress on IT, banking and the financial Sector, but I think there are lot more areas which still need our attention. It is true that right now India is the world's youngest nation, but we youngers do promise to ourselves to make India a developed country by 2020.
Vivek Bakshi, Khandwa, India

I don't think India is capable of becoming a super-power any time too soon. We have too many issues - population, corruption, diversity etc and I don't see any of them being taken care off even in the next 20yrs. So right now it's just a dream - but no harm in dreaming.
Silvanus, IL, USA

India has a long way to go when it comes to providing the basic necessities, especially basic education to children. There are over 40% villages in the country where the children are deprived of education. They are either forced to work with their parents, as more hands to work would mean more money to bring home; or there are just not enough schools providing primary education. If the foundation is weak, the collapse of the building is but eventual.
Amit , Jersey City, USA

No doubt India is a fast growing economy, but unless the growth brought forth by the booming industry is channelled towards the majority of the population in rural India, the growth will only serve to create an huge social and economic inequality among the poor and the rich.
B Senthil Priya, Singapore

The real problem of Indian economy is improper administration of the taxing system. Government and fiscal policy makers should be strict on people on who are evading taxes. Economic policy should concentrate more on social welfare.
Sibi Joseph, Manchester, UK

The biggest problem which India faces today is a growing need for infrastructure amidst its growing economy. Corruption and population outburst are two other major concerns. Unfortunately there is a perception in India that people can get away with doing just about anything. Everybody needs to understand that chances of making it to the club of developed nations is bleak with this much of corruption. It's time our political parties act responsibly.
Indraneel Chowhdury, Charlotte, USA/India

India cannot be a super power until the poor can afford food and clean water. A country which cannot handle common mans problem cannot become a super power nor for that matter can be called as a developing country.
Naga Shakelli, New York, USA

It's good to read so much opinion coming from Indians and non-Indians from all corners of the worlds. If recent growth in IT and services exports can create attention in Western superpowers (I am not including Japan here because they usually do not take note of any one not even China), then if India creates a niche exporting manufactured goods, India will definitely become a superpower. Indians (at the government and grassroots level)have to realize that this growth has to be accompanied by elimination of problems plaguing our country, such as illiteracy, poverty, lack of continuing education, healthcare guarantee, lack of equality of genders, HIV/AIDS prevention etc.
BB, CR, Iowa

India has to take more care of the village population who are still struggling to live properly
John Karondukadavil, India, Living in Poland, Jaslo
India is the largest democracy but she needs to address the problem of literacy and primary health centres. Often India is pictured as very poor and backward. The reality is that she has natural resources which are not used properly because of corruption. India has to take more care of the village population who are still struggling to live properly.
John Karondukadavil, India, Living in Poland, Jaslo

India's recent development surge is only due to the development in the information technology sector. But for a country to become a superpower it should have a very strong foundation in all aspects which it lacks. One cannot see India as a superpower within 50 years and those who think it will become in 5 years are only dreaming.
Supradeep Narayana, New York, USA

Yes, these are testing times for India. There are numerous hurdles that it has to overcome. But from my perception there are two major things should take place. Basic education and abolishing bribery. These two influence the required factors like communication, infrastructure etc. At least people and political parties have realized the goals and growth. That's the reason the country is moving in a positive direction irrespective of political parties on the helm.
VR Jalli, Singapore

The number of issues concerning every Indian is humungous. We have poor sanitation and the quality of drinking water is bad. There is pollution and economic disparity is widespread and increasing. Literacy is pathetic in some of the northern states but improving handsomely in the southern states. Agriculture is monsoon dependent, which means more than 50% of the Indian population is monsoon dependent. Infrastructure is abysmal and the government is stumbling at every step. India might face the severest of hardships but an average Indian would still be smiling.
Sayeed, Bangalore, India

India currently has the potential to regain its place in history as an influential international economic power, but the question must be asked, "at what cost?" Before India can achieve the aforementioned status, it must improve the situation of those whose voices are not always heard: the poor, the women, and those people that rely on the natural environment for a living. As an American, I see my country's development, historically, as lacking the foresight to pace its development with the condition of its people. This time India can choose to copy the mistakes of the United States in its development, or it can learn from them to ensure that all of its citizens reap the benefits of development.
Rachel, Toledo, USA

India is on a major revolution, economic, social and global impact. While adapting to these dynamics, it is also important to get the basics improved such as infrastructure, hygiene, economic disparity, safety and law, population control which are far below global norms. Or else, the current improvements will fade out soon.
Paresh Shah, India, USA

The major issue for India would always be the amount of corruption. What makes it more dangerous is that it has long been accepted as part of daily life in India. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution for it. For that matter there seems to be no solution for it in distant future. Though its economic progress is encouraging, I am afraid it may someday lead to a large scale social unrest because of resultant divide between haves and have nots.. I also like to think one day we will be global power, who doesn't like to live in some sort of fantasy
Rajakumar Sankula, Ames, IA

My main concern is how India will construct a sustainable and distinct identity that reflects the country's great diversity. I hope India will follow its own road and not simply create a facade resembling Western modernity. Throughout history, India has managed to absorb foreign elements into its culture and express them in its own language; I hope it will not lose this fantastic ability.
Mats , Finland

India can become a superpower if she concentrates on the technology market niche
Devyani Prabhat, Jersey City, USA
India can become a superpower if she concentrates on the technology market niche. She should focus on high quality education. If she takes part in the race to the bottom in labour and environment standards to cut costs she may not make it. The key is sustainable growth over a long period and not short term gains.
Devyani Prabhat, Jersey City, USA

Forget the superpower or superstar status. India is fast becoming an ecological disaster. Combine it with new found love for consumerism. I think we are fast losing our respect for our nature unlike our past generations. A simple thing like a walk on the road is sure to increase your toxic levels.
San, Hyderabad

I can see many comments from the people who believe that today's India is at the mercy of USA , UK and other countries since they outsourced the jobs to India. Can someone tell me who outsourced jobs to USA before it become the so called "superpower?" India has potential to become the superpower. It's a matter of time.
Butala, Saudi Arabia

All the above questions are moot, till there is implementation of the law, a comprehensive sense of justice and accountability for actions taken by government officials; which in turn fosters a belief in the law by the average citizen. Till then all these grandiose hopes India has are castles in the air
Cyrus S, Mumbai & Chicago

Everyone is talking about India becoming Super Power, growing economy and economic reforms. What about rural India? One can see the true pictures of India while travelling in the rural Indian villages - no suitable infrastructures, most of the people are illiterates, poverty stricken and deprived of basic needs. A small section of people who live in metropolitan cities are talking about India becoming Super Power and economic growth as usual hypocrisy and we Indians are being pretentious. Remember 72 % of population of India lives in rural areas; we Indians are unable to even manufacture a simple hand calculators.
Radhe Hinda, Arunachal Pradesh, India

The greatest problem in India is corruption and not population
Sunny, Kerala, India
I am concerned about India's future. The greatest problem in India is corruption and not population. The political field has become a real mafia. Political leaders, except a very few, think about accumulating wealth for themselves and their families. Bribing is a commonplace here and very little is being done to check it. When India glories in its "shining" it does not take into account the vast majority of the villagers who live in absolute misery. Indians need to go back to their profound religious traditions and get inspiration from the values which its religions teach.
Sunny, Kerala, India

It truly amazes me that not one opinion among the seventy or so comments mention the status of women in India and Indian women around the world. India still has an appalling status of women record, collectively only relatively better than women in the Middle East and Africa. If talented women, capable women, and women with amazing leadership abilities are not given fair opportunities and treated with more than superficial respect (in families and communities) then India cannot have power of any kind.
How to achieve real superpower? Educate all women, improve their health, remove their economic dependency on men, femininize social programs (so they are more inclusive and compassionate), eliminate their sole identity as wives and mothers, and get more women at the top. Simple and clear, a woman's way.
Meera, Iowa, USA

My greatest worry is that with the march towards a western style lifestyle and no proper waste disposal and management, the entire country is becoming a huge garbage dump. India's premier city Mumbai is already in many parts, one big dump site. Is this the India of the future? There are many fundamental issues to be resolved first. Population control, water and waste management, health care for all etc. are some of the very important issues facing the government and the people. However, populist policies means that these are being glossed over and ignored.
Padma Rao, Antwerp, Belgium

Our politicians are corrupt from top to bottom. They are semi literate and lack a vision. Most of the common people remain poor and are denied almost everything in life. Add to this - communal tension. Even the most educated and qualified people do not seem to break out of the communal/caste based prejudice. There are far too many things that can derail things...
Muddassar Sayed, Pune, India

Of course India have all potentials to become a global power. But the system in the political level in India is not favourable for the nation to become a superpower until unless our politicians are ready to wipe out the poverty of large section of people. As long as the richer become more richest and poorer become poorest, how can this ambition of super power come true
Saji, Calicut/India

The question that faces India today is not how to become a superpower in the earlier sense of the world, but to be a responsible power. The term superpower is probably irrelevant in the modern world where there is less threat from global power blocs, such as the Nato and non-Nato alliances. India has the potential to be a great responsible power, but it really needs to weed out corruption and take all layers of society to prosperity. Indians are a lot more mature and pragmatic than their counterparts in some western 'developed' countries and capable of being a force for good in the world.
Robin Bhowmik, Reading, UK

Being an economic power makes a country a global power. But Indians should keep one thing in mind, and that is that India has to compete with China and from the looks of it now China is deemed to be the winner. But India can move ahead. It has to develop its infrastructure and create an efficient and transparent administration. Communal distrust should be eliminated and so should be right wing parties which encourage it. If these problems can be taken into account and solved then India can definitely join the global power elite.
Umran, Dhaka, Bangladesh

India should not follow Western materialistic culture blindly
Digvijay SmabYal, New Zealand
India should not follow Western Materialistic culture blindly. India should create its own identity in the world and should preserve its own traditional peaceful, non violence spiritual culture. India has vast Vedic knowledge to offer to whole humanity.
Digvijay SmabYal, New Zealand

By offering assistance to the quake affected people of Pakistan, India has definitely made another benevolent gesture towards improving strained relations. However, India seems to have ignored the plight of its citizens in Kashmir who were equally hard hit. Why the double standards?
Kashyap Mothali, India

The population of India has reached a staggering level. It depletes her resources and many of its citizens lack basic needs. It is relevant to say that many of the present ills can be reduced by providing primary education till grade twelve. While India is meeting this objective to some extent it is not enough. A more comprehensive policy with more resources needs to be put in place so every citizen has easy access to an education till grade 12. An educated class at all levels, not confined to the college level only, will help to cure a multitude of social, economic and religious problems. And last but not least, will bring dignity to the common man.
Vibha Dhingra, Winchester, Ma USA

Question for Ms Ambika Soni: Most important issue: Disaster management. Does India have a disaster management team in place that will be well co-ordinated and effective in managing any kind of disaster in any remote village or city - unlike what has happened in Pakistan after the earthquake?
Saha, California, USA

Ms Soni, Is Congress, the Party that introduced economic reforms, going to learn from all the violence that free markets have unleashed on the poor farmers and tribals of India? What does your government plan to do to address the problems of agrarian crisis that has gripped almost the entire country?
Prakash Kashwan, Bloomington, USA

Definitely India will become world's super power
Nagesh Karumanchi, Andhra Pradesh, India
Definitely India will become world's super power. There'll not be any doubt about it, in any aspect. Now India is in the position to help the neighbouring countries. To maintain this pace the Indian politics should invite the young generation and they should work together to remove the corruption which is stopping the real development in India.
Nagesh Karumanchi, Andhra Pradesh, India

It is obvious that the root cause of most of India's problems is population overgrowth. I wonder whether the politicians can realise this fact or not. My straight question is: What are the practical measures the present government has taken to tackle this problem?
Dr. Achyut Kumar, Melbourne

India is emerging as global role model for democracy, education, and knowledge based industry. The only threat to India's march ahead is communal tension between Hindus and Muslims and HIV. These problems need to be tackled properly.
Sandip Aralkar, Pune India

A country's economic growth depends on three major factors. 1) Clean running water, stable electricity supply and good transport system including quality roads and highways. My country lacks all three. Above all corruption should be uprooted from every government department. India got almost all the natural resources, work force, talents. Yet we are one of the poor countries in the world.
Abdul Wahid, Kayalpatnam - India.

India's response to the earthquake has been swift and the offer to coordinate rescue missions with Pakistan is praiseworthy. This may help to diffuse age-old tensions over Kashmir. Her astounding economic successes, especially in the high-tech sector, the film industry, textiles and garment sectors, with the growing presence of foreign businesses explain why India is the second fastest-growing economy in Asia after China. These economic successes are sustainable provided the fruits of all the economic success have meaningful impact on the country's poor and down-trodden.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels; Belgium

Last week's earthquake may change some calculations as far as Kashmir issue is concerned. Hindus were helping Muslims and vice versa. When there is a great harmony between all religions and castes, corruption is at minimal level, unemployment rate is less than 3%, and foreign policy is perfect then India can dream to become a superpower.
Subhash Janardhan Bhore, India/Malaysia

Travelling in India is going to be a nightmare. In road, rail or air. The infrastructre is not enough to support the need. So this is big problem and what is the plan for goverment in this regard?
George , Indian, living in Middle East

India must counter its skills and wage crisis
Pallavi, Sydney, Australia
Although there has been an enormous rise in the educated middle class in India, the number of jobs available to support them is comparatively fewer. This is leading to the brightest of minds leaving India to pursue higher incomes and better lifestyles. As a young Indian brought up in Australia, I have many friends and family who have jobs in many of the top companies in India. However, they are leaving the country for higher wages and better living conditions in Europe, America etc. India must counter its skills and wage crisis before even attempting to take on the role of a superpower
Pallavi, Sydney, Australia

India and Pakistan will continue to posture against one another for their own domestic political reasons, including distracting from endemic poverty and class-based cultures second to none. Atomic bombs and missiles would suggest less than rational governments which appear to have learned nothing from watching the Cold War play out. They should focus on improving the lot of their respective populations by building schools, hospitals, and expanding opportunities for all. The money they currently spend on bombs and missiles should be spend on productive schemes.
Michael, California, USA

I am not sure I'd wish the title "world superpower" on any nation. With that title comes responsibility within one's country and without for the greater good of all peoples.
Penny, USA

Hopefully India will lead the world towards a more humane and tolerant future
Nilesh, Antwerp, Belgium
With the sheer size of the population and the growth it is generating at all levels, there is no doubt that India will eventually be a power to contend with. Its population is also going to remain younger compared to China - where due to one child policy, the aged will dominate the populace after 20 years. So, the burgeoning economy will have a forward momentum in future as well, and certainly would make India a key player on the global stage. While China has used its power to bully and generally disregard world opinion on many humanitarian issues, hopefully India will lead the world towards a more humane and tolerant future.
Nilesh, Antwerp, Belgium

I don't believe that India will become a superpower, however China and the EU are different stories. Both will become superpowers.
Rui M Silva, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

One constant assumption here of comments from most of the people who are not from India is that Indian economic growth is due to "wage difference / outsourcing " - maybe it'll help if they are told that it counts for about $10 billion in the Indian economy of $700 billion
Sundar, USA

India has a lot of room to grow, and will. India's problem however is that it is simply too overpopulated and too many people are dedicated to food production. Agriculture doesn't earn much revenue and prevents people from getting a higher education. Also, India suffers from emigration of the middle class. Anyone who is educated, has the potential to earn money, and contribute tax revenue leaves because they can earn more elsewhere. Indian wages need to increase before they start holding onto their skilled workers and can start importing grain from poorer countries.
Drew, Philadelphia, USA

As an Indian living in India, I feel all this talk about India being a superpower is part hype and part reality. We have a long, long way to go, just to become a power. The problem of corruption, poverty and pathetic infrastructure persists. All successive governments have failed to tackle these issues. Having lived in India all my life I do find a change in the people's mindset, being more positive and confident about the future
Dinesh Nair, Mumbai, India

Increase the prosperity across all segments of population
Vaman, Frederick, MD
As an Indian born American Citizen, I am quite impressed at so many positive feelings about India. The issue is not to become a superpower, but is to increase the prosperity across all segments of population. This is where India needs to concentrate and not worry too much about a super power status.
Vaman, Frederick, MD

Since when was a superpower constructed from call centres? As the standard of living, and hence the wages of Indian people rise, the jobs will move on to other cheaper countries.
Chris, Telford, UK

Most definitely, it is a democratic nation with over 900 million people, there's nothing stopping it. When the economy gets to a size rather like Germany or Britain, and its people start to earn more money, the Indian Treasury will rake in the money which will of course make the country a huge player and may very well overtake the USA. The Europeans MUST get their act together.
Joshua, Farnham, Surrey

India will become a superpower. They have the economy, the labour and resources to be one of the truly great nations of the world. But they should thank the British people for their potential. England gave them democracy, justice and a will to succeed, just as they did for so many countries around the world. My own included.
Bruce, Blackwell, Ok, USA

India needs to take strong and clear cut decisions to emerge as a global player
Nivedita Nadkarni, Madison, USA
It takes more than potential to emerge as a superpower and that is the proper tapping of the potential. One question for Ambika Soni: How can India make any progress, when all of our international policy seems to be centred around pleasing the US? This is with reference to the anti-Iran vote. The Americans got the Indians to do what they want, but will the Americans even "try" to consider India's concerns? India needs to take strong and clear cut decisions to emerge as a global player, not behave like an American subsidiary, which seems to be the Congress policy at the moment.
Nivedita Nadkarni, Madison, USA

The thought behind this question is very western. India should not chase the so called "super-Power" status. We have seen in recent past being superpower does not guarantee happiness/fulfilment of the populace. India by the western definition is a developing country, still it has one of the best education through put in the world. Most people have easy access to affordable healthcare (Remember 50% of Indian population is twice the size of USA in numbers). India has been lowering poverty rate since independence, where our resources of about 15 trillion were taken away. I think as the new generations emerge in India and Pakistan, issues will become irrelevant

India's current success is not just because of outsourcing. I agree that outsourcing has been the catalyst for this growth. India excels in other fields also such as pharmacy, agriculture, industrial and scientific research. India should proceed and improve its defence research. Defence field is not only just for developing missiles and fighter planes, it also provides technology for other fields such as medicine, electronics, agriculture, eg, USA and Israel. As far as the caste system, it will slowly fade away with more and more inter-caste marriages as they are happening right now. If the arrogance is synonym for superpower then I don't India to be superpower. There is a lot of work to be done to reduce economic imbalances. And finally, to our neighbours, you don't respect India because you don't want to.
Sreedhar Nandam, India

India is a country gaining economic ground in the world
Justin, Bristol, UK
You only have to look at the number of British jobs that are sent to India to see that India is a country gaining economic ground in the world. Poverty means nothing. Russia has many impoverished people and Russia was a superpower. One in six people in the world live in India. India is already a nuclear power. India is an emerging superpower and it would be naive to think otherwise.
Justin, Bristol, UK

India needs to clean up its home first. It has potential to become superpower. It will become only if it tries to give up the caste system that is becoming a block. In the process of India becoming superpower, the rich will get richer and poor will become poorer. It will also crumble under pressure of its own population after some time and it will have severe problem of old people after the next generation.
Ajit Nadgouda, Mumbai, India

India has to make a complete break from its socialist and its purported non-aligned past to become a superpower. Investment in Space technology, nanotechnology and the military is just as important as spending on the poor.
V Narayan, Sweden

India as a whole could not cope with such an economic responsibility. They need to sort out the corruption first then form a hierarchy that is strong enough to compete with the other superpowers such as the USA, and Europe. What remains to be seen is how economically India will benefit from assisting Pakistan.
Preeti R Gour, Czech Republic

Considering the ever-widening disparity of current socio-economic levels in the country, India achieving a superpower status is a pipe dream and more importantly of the least concern. Let not this waver our focus on more pressing matters.
Kashyap Mothali, Hyderabad, India

India already is a key player on the world stage. That said their economic power and productivity are limited by overpopulation and stressed physical resources. For that reason, for the foreseeable future only a small/limited percentage of India's population will be able to enjoy a decent standard of living. The current Indian service boom based on cheap labour is not sustainable without a cash cow - just look at the dot com bust to see what happens when the cash cow runs out.
Matt, Bellevue, WA, USA

Indian growth is slow and steady and will continue due to its huge and still emerging market (hopefully it will not be export-import based). As an NRI visiting India every year; the implications of a 6/7% growth were more apparent. I actually saw the 'before' and 'after' for 6 years till returned. Indian economic growth is perhaps the most sustainable, for the current growth is with all its problems, we can only imagine what would happen as the problems are resolved. India's economy is evolving which is irreversible, growth can be lost.
Ketan Khare, Mumbai, India

Indians now have to develop a sense of national pride
Leila, USA
I spent this last summer in India and have been visiting the country, specifically Bangalore (major city for outsourcing) since I was a child. It is clear the increase in money that has come to India, and although it may take time the trickle down effect seems to be working. The cities are looking better, the people are richer. However, Indians now have to develop a sense of national pride and come together to bring their fellow citizens up, they need to break the caste system and instead of suppressing their neighbours they need to help them. Until then India can never be a true super power.
Leila, USA

India's growth is reliant on the continued outsourcing of jobs from the west, simply to save money. As Indians progressively get richer, prices rise, giving way to inflation, and as such wage demands will also increase. The key factor will be how long the firms will hold this out before exporting these jobs again.
Darryl LeCount, Paderborn, Germany

The growth of India like China is directly tied to the United States policy of allowing the free transfer of technology and outsourcing of service and manufacturing. It is in America's and the world's interest to see China and India as free, prosperous, and stable nations but they should beware of becoming smug and confrontational. A rupture of say China with the US resulting in a cut-off of all economic relations would quickly send it reeling back into economic oblivion.
Mark, USA

India that will become a reservoir of knowledge and innovation in the near future
C Sachidananda Narayanan, Tirunelveli, India
Indians rule the roost in the fields of science and technology - particularly in the subject field of Information Technology, space science and microbiology. A new trend in Geological Informatics is catching up now among young people in India. It is for sure that India that will become a reservoir of knowledge and innovation in the near future.
C Sachidananda Narayanan, Tirunelveli, India

Why would any country want to be a superpower? That's not the same thing as a prosperous, innovative and successful country. If India or China or Europe want to be superpowers, they can have it. It's a curse.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

India will eventually become a major power simply because they have begun to place a far greater emphasis on education. As they develop, their infrastructure will be the latest but in country where prices will still be low and very competitive. The route to being a successful superpower is not by armed might but by education and a broad knowledge of the views of the rest of the World.
Keith, Rayeligh England

What many people forget is that for much of world history, India and China were the economic/civilizational superpowers of the world. First European colonisation and greed, and then decades of government. mismanagement and corruption have hampered growth. India still has a long way to go, but she has all the potential, including redefining what a superpower is. And the number of people who live in abject poverty in India has fallen to around 350 million. While the naysayers shake their heads, India will plod on in her own way.
K. Srinivasan, Boston, MA

Europe got united after World War II. India and Pakistan should get united after this earthquake disaster. If they are united, all the money spent on defence can be spent for good causes. When this happens, "United India" will be a superpower.
Siva Kumar Narayanasamy, London, UK/Madurai, India

India already is a superpower, both in economic terms and in geo-political terms. That it has lots of poor people is irrelevant.
Mark, London, UK

Any country, outside of the Euro-zone, has the potential of becoming a superpower.
Michael, USA

Once India takes care of its poor and educates the illiterate then it could emerge as a superpower
David Totten, Denny, Scotland

If it does it will be at a cost. Expect pollution, corruption and exploitation of the poor in the race for riches. India won't be any different, than say the UK in the 19th Century.
Martyn Howie, Aberdeen

India has a greedy upper class and the poor will remain poor and the rich will remain rich. Unless and until they don't get rid of bureaucracy they can never become a super power. Its ties with Pakistan will also be short lived, someone just has to mention Kashmir again.
Samien, England

India will never be a superpower, much less a global power
Jonathan, Boston, USA
Not with 800 million people living in abject poverty it won't. It could build a thousand nuclear weapons and pass China up in terms of production of goods. Until the vast majority of its people could be considered "middle class", India will never be a superpower, much less a global power.
Jonathan, Boston, USA

Maybe when it starts spending money on its poor instead of nuclear weapons, space research and other weapons. If it has the money to do this, then it has money to help its poor! I for one will never donate to such countries.
Bruce Fox, Bournemouth, Dorset

India already became a superpower when it developed nuclear missiles.
Sung, London

It's impossible to see how India will not become a superpower. Sooner or later the economic oppression of a country with India's population will have to succeed. Now that the colonial oppressors have been consigned to history it's only a matter of time till the replacement of colonialism (economic oppression) will fail also. China is already well on the way to doing it and India can only follow. Europe, the US and their followers will be backwaters in time to come.
Len, Mandurah, Australia

No. How long before China begins to undercut jobs that have moved from the West to India? Give it two to three years and when calling our banks, we will be speaking to someone in Beijing not Bombay.
Nick, UK

India has had a sharp increase in the estimated number of HIV infections
Sezai, Eskisehir, Turkey
India has had a sharp increase in the estimated number of HIV infections, from a few thousand in the early 1990s to around 5.1 million children and adults living with HIV/AIDS in 2003 and more than 6 million today. If the number of people living with HIV/AIDS increases this fast, the social security system and the economy of India will be affected negatively.
Sezai, Eskisehir, Turkey

India has to be respected by its neighbours to become a superpower. It does not have a peaceful relationship with any of its neighbours. Can India be a responsible nation that is deemed worthy of superpower status? I think it has a way to go yet.
Anwar Khan, Toronto, Canada

The most important factor which is enabling India to achieve such growth is cost. Because wages are a lot lower than other European counties the Indian outsourcing companies can offer the equivalent service a lot cheaper. This will change once the people working for the outsourcing companies start to demand more of the new found wealth coming into the country. All labour starts out cheap but always becomes more costly.
John Fitzgerald, Boston, England

India is well poised to become a world superpower. It is ironical that the huge population that was once considered to be India's biggest liability is now rapidly transforming itself to become India's biggest asset. The fact that India has a young population is a huge bonus. The huge pool of English speaking graduates can further spur the economy. Of course the twin evils of corruption and inequality have to be eliminated before India can take its rightful place in the world.
Sarat Menon, Belgium/India

Indians are doing well in their own country and across the world
Suken Mehta, Mumbai, India
India has the capacity to become a world superpower. Indians are doing well in their own country and across the world. The only thing to come in the way is the politicians. If only they would have concern themselves with political issues - then there is nothing stopping us. India can show the other countries of the world many things and would be a different kind of superpower than the world has seen.
Suken Mehta, Mumbai, India

Successful outsourcing in India is built on the fact that the English language is common to the whole continent. This is not the case in other competing/developing nations like China. Superpower status is just a matter of time provided the problem of infrastructure and corruption is addressed. This is where the challenge really lies.
Rajen Morjaria, Kidgrove, UK

I think India has the potential and surely the opportunities to become a world superpower but what we lack is the attitude and not enough effort to get the masses out of poverty. The booming economy benefits the middle class and the rich. What about 80% of the country that is poor? A superpower should be able to provide economic freedom for all.
Divya Raman, Iowa city, USA

Two third of Indian population live in villages. Unless these villagers are brought above poverty line, offered a decent life, superpower status should not be even discussed.
Om Choudhary, Letchworth, England

India's economic success is built on the sacrifices of previous generations
Shekhar Scindia, Edison, NJ, USA
India's economic success is built on the sacrifices of previous generations, not just economic liberalisation. Even before the economy opened up these generations were quietly laying the foundations for India's future.
Shekhar Scindia, Edison, NJ, USA

I can see India growing to become one of the world's superpowers. A closed economy gave way to liberalisation in the 90's and since then, India has registered a growth rate exceeding 8% every year. In the next 5 years, India is investing heavily in basic infrastructure like energy, roads and railways. A fiercely competitive education system continues to churn out graduates in is millions every year, who can take on the demands of a changing world - be it in service sector or manufacturing. There are many issues which need addressing and some of these will get automatically corrected with better growth rates.
Anil, Herts, UK

India definitely has the potential to become a global superpower within this century. A huge pool of skilled English speaking graduates are key to the required and sustainable growth rates needed. Yet at the same time, the Indian government should pay heed to its critics who point out that social spending, especially in the areas of health and education, as well as the rooting out of corruption and encouraging civic duty are the key platforms behind any real change.
Saj Chakkalakal, UK/India

A good economy and industrial growth, yes, but superpower is asking for too much. With prevalent caste system, complete disconnection between urban and rural lives, pathetic infrastructure, rampant corruption - it's difficult to foresee India as a superpower in the next 50 years. India's focus should be to spread the riches across the nation and among the impoverished rather than eyeing the superpower tag. That means less spending on missiles and defence and more on basic needs of people.
Deep, Calcutta, India

The Indian government needs to address some major issues
Anuj Goel, New York, USA
In order to achieve sustainable economic growth, the Indian government needs to address some major issues. Investment in infrastructure, a consistent and accommodative foreign investment policy, well regulated capital markets, overhaul of the judiciary, reduced inefficiencies in government organisations, and above all, political stability.
Anuj Goel, New York, USA

India SHOULD become a world superpower soon. However, that is not enough, we must adhere to the basic requirements of the hundreds of millions of people both in rural and urban India. Even now, the infrastructure in the capital cities of several states in appalling. I think the Mumbai floods should be a wakeup call for all India.
Akshay Misra, Newcastle, UK/ Dubai, UAE

Just because multinational corporations are flocking to India mainly because of cheap labour does not mean the country will become a superpower. Anyone who visits India can see the overpopulation, extreme poverty, Third World facilities and too many social issues going on. India has a long way to go to catch up with the 21st century and I can't see this happening in our lifetimes, whatever economic analysts may say.
Richard, London, UK

Indians seem to me to be an innovative and industrious people. I am an IT worker and have certainly seen the impact that India has made in this sector (not all of it welcome from my point of view, I have to say!). I am certain that India will attain even greater influence in the global economy that it has now, but I suspect that the gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots' in India will widen rather than diminish.
Rob Lovett, Swindon, Wiltshire

India has a serious problem with the spread of AIDS
Nicola, Scotland
India has a serious problem with the spread of AIDS, which at the moment is crippling Africa's economy. Facing this should be a priority or it will destroy any chances future generations have to prosper to become a global player.
Nicola, Scotland

India is an extremely large country with a huge population, Its education standards vary from illiterate to rocket scientists and brain surgeons. Its personal wealth varies from absolute poverty to incredibly rich. It has a huge agricultural base and a solid, growing industrial and electronics industry. Sound familiar? Just look at the US.
Michael, Lincoln, England

India's economic progress in recent years has been remarkable, but patchy. Progression from this early phase of development will require very substantial investment in national infrastructure. Without this, the path to growth and prosperity will be choked off and the benefits will never filter down to the bulk of the population. If India is to invest in its own infrastructure, then that same burgeoning middle class will have to pay its taxes. Tax collection is pitifully low and evasion the normal state of affairs. India's growth will ultimately depend on its ability to foster a sense of civic responsibility.
David, UK (frequently in India)

The definition of a superpower is open to debate. As India grows, she must bring with her a rising tide that will lift the poor from their misery. That in essence, is a real superpower.
Karthik Dinakar, Bangalore

While India's economic growth is encouraging, its sustainability is doubtful
Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leonean in Michigan, USA
India's economic growth is mainly the result of "outsourcing" of hi-tech, telecommunications and other services from the West, particularly the US. This is mainly due to the availability of professional technical skills at cheaper cost. While India's economic growth is encouraging, its sustainability is doubtful as the growth of hi-tech industries in other developing countries (especially China) could, over time, serve as a major destination of "outsourcing" which could have a negative effect on India's economy.
Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leonean in Michigan, USA

If India can overcome the strict caste system and allow "common" people to advance in leadership positions, then we can become a superpower. The elitists think a poor person cannot overcome his situation to run companies or take up government positions. I have lived in the US for 10 years now and see why the US is such a superpower. Everyone is in a position to advance, not because they were born wealthy, but because they are (usually) the best person for the job. There is a very powerful culture of entrepreneurship in the US that India can learn from.
Japjit, San Francisco, California

An increasing number of multi-national corporations are flocking to India to tap into the one-billion strong consumer market, and to take advantage of a very well educated middle class that costs a fraction of educated workforces in other countries. With the resulting inflow of foreign capital combined with expanding domestic corporate and consumer credit markets, India is well on the path to robust economic growth over the next decade. The biggest challenge to India's global economic prominence is undoubtedly the Indian government. In order to truly harness existing and future opportunities, the government needs to address some major issues - investment in infrastructure, a consistent and accommodative foreign investment policy, reduced inefficiencies in government organizations, and above all, political stability.
Anuj Goel, New York, USA

While India's economy is indeed becoming stronger the sad fact remains that a vast majority of the population (especially those at the lower end of the caste system) still live in extreme poverty.
Satish Patel Gujaarati, Indian, but living in UK

Country profile: India
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