“Hello sir, I want to question you that the mere rumor of the US cutting down the federal stimulus, saw the rupee crash in value, when will we see an Indian policy affecting the other countries so intensively”.
This was a question asked by a small 9 year old kid to our RBI governor while in one of the interactive sessions. Clearly the way India is emerging as a new economic order, and its clear-cut economic and foreign policies plus the geopolitical influence, there is not much time when India will indeed emerge as a superpower and help shape a new world order in the 21st century.
Recent Prime minister’s statement at UN assembly “Vasudeva kutumbam” and also his stress on the Indian ideology practiced from past that Earth is treated as mother provides a strong emphasis to world nations about the importance India as a developing nation in providing in a path to shape a new world order. India with its policy of Non-alignment(NAM) has shown the world that it does not support a single nation or block but respects the whole world as a single nation which reflects the strong brother hood and policy of peace.
It was the summer of 1998 when India carried out her “Operation Shakti”. Operation Shakti was concerned with the nuclear weapons’ tests which were carried out successfully. The then PM declared India to be a nuclear state. The incident left a shattered globe, a surprise even for the US. Albeit USA imposed sanctions on India, no one except for JAPAN came forward to support it, the rest of the world traded the same as they did before with India. After months, US realized that the rising stature of India couldn’t be ignored. The decades of isolation came to an end as the world entered the 21st century, George Bush came to India to start economic bilateral cooperation and relations. It was that time when the MNC’s back in the opposite side of the world were flourishing, looking for outsourcing job distribution, and who could be better player than INDIA. It was the time when an individual, if scored 90% in the CBSE boards went on to job the IT-firm.
India is the world’s largest democracy and home to around 1/5th of the global population. Such a huge population gives India the required weight and authority to influence the politics and economics of the world. India stands as the 7th largest democracy in terms of nominal GDP, and 3rd in terms of Purchasing Power Parity(PPP). Not to forget how India has been a growing economy, registering the highest growth after the subprime crisis which left the world vulnerable. The Indian economy has the potential to become the world’s 3rd-largest economy by the next decade, and one of the largest economies by mid-century.
The rising weight of India has been recognized by many countries of the globe. The African continent, Central Asia and Southeast Asia look towards India with optimism in order to save themselves from the interplay of global power-United States, China and Russia. India has responded back in a positive sense and has come forward to play the role of leader in order to guard these nations. With the support of these countries to India, she has the power to influence any decision taken on the world stage or the multilateral institutions like United Nations which are otherwise a play in the hand of western powers.
Fueled by all these advantages that allow India to shape the world order, she has already made some ventures in order to attest the same. India, being the leader of developing world came in the forefront to exert the principle of “Common but differentiated responsibilities(CBDR)” on developing world. This ensured that developing countries can also make economic progress and become competent enough to influence the world order. Similarly, India has sought to democratize institutions like International Monetary Fund (IMF)and to bring/stall reforms at WTO for the good of developing countries. India has actively been pursuing her relations with different countries across the globe through way of agreements and treaties in order to enforce the notion of multi-polar world. Similarly, India has made new ventures by becoming or trying to become a member of various institutions or policies. For instance, India is an active member of BRICS and is pursuing the BCIM corridor through the silk route initiative of China. All this has ensured that India doesn’t remain isolated from the emerging institutions and is able to play an active role in them.
But there are still certain blockages for INDIA in all the fronts.
India sits in between China, South East Asia and middle East. If a large scale war may break between China and South east Asia, there are very much chances that India gets involved.While we suppose that India has to take on China for say a war, and we take a closer look at India’s military and combat power, there would seem a large gap in between. India’s military troop strength, though the 4th largest in the world, is almost half to that of China. India has much less weapons as compared to China, let alone more than them. So a question to counter them directly with direct military operations is out of question. The only ray of hope is USA which can support India if such things happens. Furthermore, India’s military lacks a strategic culture according to certain reports. Also India buys most of its weapons from the other nations, which gives it both economic and technological disadvantage.
India has had an animosity with its neighbor Pakistan since independence. The Kashmir issue is still prevalent and POK is always vulnerable. Moroever, both the countries have accused each other about the withdrawal of the peace-talks in relation with border disputes and POK. Furthermore, India’s relation with Nepal has seen a major blow owing to the non-official blockage by India. Its relations with Bangladesh has seen a step ahead with the enclaves exchanged, but Teesta river dispute still remains unresolved. Myanmaar NSCN-K matters and India’s way to combat it, saw a chest thumping by Indian political leaders which hurt a sovereign nation’s sentiments. Clearly India’s geopolitical situation within the subcontinent isn’t that good. But India’s “ACT-EAST” Policy and Gujral Doctrine roots its anticipation to portray it as a good neighbor.
While India has many unresolved border disputes with China, and the military leaders and strategic thinkers watching closely about the soaring military budget of China, Chinese growing friendship with Pakistan, India’s relation with china are hence always seen with suspicion.China’s “STRING OF PEARLS” is an indicative of the growing geopolitical influence in the subcontinent, which makes the suspicion by our think tanks justified.
Furthermore,on the economic front, stringent environmental and labor laws, IPR issues and complex tax regimes portrays it as a strict country in terms of Ease of doing business. This can be seen as major blow as India’s continuous efforts to penetrate in the global market.
But everything is not so bad for India as it may seem. Diplomatically,India’s military is more experienced and better trained military than China. It has stronger naval powers allies like South Korea, Japan and USA. Also India conducts more joint naval exercises with US than any other nation in the world. We have an able nuclear arsenal which is capable of targeting any region of China. Though India imports majorly from China, but the domestic traders are always concerned about the non tariff barriers that Chinese put on India’s goods which add much less value to India’s foreign exchange. China had also opposed India’s count for permanent seat in UNSC. While the reasons given are something different, the fact that they don’t want an Asian power to emerge is quiet evident.
So clearly, China has always been a major hurdle for India in letting it emerge as a superpower, and shape a new order system in the 21st century, which is used by USA to hence counterfeit China by helping India in economic and political matters. For example the nuclear deal signed between USA and India in 2005 inspite of being a signatory of Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT) and CTBT, shows how India stems important in the world, specially for USA.
India’s able diaspora and students who are employed in well off industries in the developed economies holds its own importance. Indian students studying in universities of USA, UK, GERMANY brings in the much needed foreign exchange for them which of prime importance to their economy. India’s skilled manpower also help in growth of their technology and industries, which shows how India’s demographic dividend too holds importance to the world order and has the capability to turn things around if things turn out to be sour with India.
India’s policy makers and political leaders stress upon how they focus more on multilaterlism, the bilateral ties show a different story. India’s ambitious and straight-forward stand towards CBDR and to not cutting carbon emissions for the sake of their manufacturing sector thus curbing poverty is to be well-appreciated of. Further,India’s largest peacekeeper to UN also shows how influential and responsible part it can be if given a permanent seat in the UNSC.
The changing world order has made its presence felt nad India is one of the dominant one among them owing to it’s economic, demographic, diplomatic and cultural advantages. India has good relations with almost all of the nations which is a very rare phenomenon. With its clean historical record of peace and tolerance, its respect for sovereignty of other nations, it’s just demands for reforms in global bodies, its history of standing for the poor of all the nations, it’s humanitarian endeavors in the global agreements, India is helping shape a world order based on consensus, multi-stakeholder approach and ethical & moral foundations. It’s a long journey ahead but even long journeys are started with smallest of steps.