By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist
While growing up, pundits and common men alike harbored the idea of India become a superpower by 2020. There was this whole love affair with the turn of the decade with our former President, Kalam, drawing his canvas of 2020 and even corporate, such as Infosys, taking a bet on its size. Standing at mid-2016, the end of the decade doesn’t look that far. However, all of a sudden, the idea of India becoming a superpower by 2020 comes to life. It’s not so much the doing of India as much as the undoing of rest of the world that India could well see it through!
To begin with, let’s understand what the word supwerpower really means. According to Stanford University, a superpower is a country that has the capacity to project dominating power and influence anywhere in the world, and sometimes, in more than one region of the globe at a time, and so may plausibly attain the status of global hegemon. For most part of our lives, the USA had retained that title! It’s not just about the military might, but equally importantly, the ability to influence people’s lives in fundamental ways, their world view through the American culture and dream, and more importantly, the American way of doing business. Can India become that? It seems so.
I offer a few basis for my conjecture on how India would well become a superpower rather rapidly than otherwise.
The slow disintegration of the European Union
The exit of Britain was indeed the first major blow to the already fragile ‘idea’ of European Union. With weakening economies and growing economic burden on otherwise strong partner nations, what incentives exist for the people to remain united? In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, the imperative of self interest at a national level, coupled with security, gets further heightened. If EU disintegrates, which it looks like, there would be little balancing act to counter the surge of India and China.
Surge of hatred in the USA
What is happening to the American dream? Hardly a day passes by when we don’t hear about hate crimes, abusive use of power, and widening of faultlines. With Trump almost legitimizing hatred and labeling any crime as an act of ‘terrorism’, the USA is fast receding into being an insular society. The very source of American domination was its openness to different people, ideas, lifestyles, and purposes, and today we are on the brink of draining the baby of the bathwater. That’s one of the biggest undoings of the USA.
India’s neighbours are imploding
China, Pakistan, and, now, Bangladesh. India is growingly being surrounded by nations which are intolerant to their own civilians. China doesn’t seem to need an external force to crumble it, nor does Pakistan. With minority voices almost choked and to an extent, minorities becoming extinct, these territories seem to be accelerating towards a path of implosion.
If diversity of ideas lead of evolution of thoughts, India’s neighbours have systematically killed such a diversity. No one seems to be bothered, and that’s the most alarming part. With the leaders in such nations busy directing attention of masses to external enemies, they are only delaying the inevitable.
If Greece can crumble, anything can!
Deftness of India’s leadership
I often wonder what lets PM Modi going in the face of so many voices, online and offline? With the volume and magnitude of critiques, insults, internal noise and external pressure, the man should have succumbed long back. Most of us do. I believe it’s the deftness of the man that allows him to act his mind.
At times when even a single sneeze can be blown out of proportion, it’s important to keep focused and deliver. The external and internal pressures can unnerve almost anyone, and that’s where I congratulate my PM for keeping his pace.
So you see, it’s the concoction of external and internal factors that could well lead India to becoming a dominant power in time to come. Needless to say, our movies, engineers, managers, food, songs, and writers, are anyways doing their bit. While I worry much about the fate of the outside world, I feel a lot secure and confident about where India is heading towards.
I only wish India could influence the world, once again.