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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?
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.
John Doe, USA
India can never become a superpower unless it tackles the issue of alarming population growth.
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.
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.
How can people see India as a
superpower, when it could not
solve the Kashmir problem with
Pakistan in the last 50 years?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nuclear weapons do not make a country a super power, it's the unity among the
people that work together for the common interest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
India is already a superpower. It is for the rest of the world to realise that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As long as corruption is found in India, it can't be become a superpower.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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