This Article is Contributed by Niyati Shinde
“Happy are all free people, too strong to be dispossessed. But blessed are those among nations who dare to be strong for the rest”- poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Let’s begin by trying to understand what a Superpower is. It is essentially a term used to describe a country which has major influence on policies and decisions, on a global level. A country which is in such a position that it can dominate global decision making processes. How does a country become a superpower you ask?
Well, when a country is strong in all of these factors- viz military, international relations, technology, economy and culture, that’s when it is deemed a superpower. For example, in the ancient times, the British Empire, the Empire of Alexander the Great, the Ottoman Empire, the Roman Empire and even the Maurya Empire were considered superpowers. In the modern age, the United States of America, China, Russia, Japan and the United Kingdom are considered to be superpowers.
The way USA became a superpower is a case study that intrigues one and all. Around 200 years ago, had someone told you that USA was going to be a superpower, you would have laughed your heart out assuming that the person was joking. And your laughter would have been justified- USA was afterall a distressed colony ruled by the British Empire.
To add to it, racism and slavery was commonplace. And soon after, the United States of America reeled under the devastation of a Civil War that lasted long enough to drain the colony off its economy. But back then, no one could have told you that the denizens of USA would go on to discover plenty of minerals and natural resources that would catapult them into superpower-dom.
So now, when we predict that India will rule the world by 2050, please hold your laughter. Because change is a constant thing and what today is a ‘developing country’ can pretty much rule the whole world a few decades later. Here are 10 reasons why we believe India will be a superpower by the year 2050.
According to US Intelligence, India is set to become an economic superpower by the year 2030. In the fifth instalment of the ‘Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds’ by the National Intelligence Council (NIC), it is mentioned that, “in 2030 India could be the rising economic powerhouse that China is seen to be today. China’s current economic growth rate – 8 to 10 per cent – will probably be a distant memory by 2030”. The report also stated that India’s rate of economic growth is likely to rise while China’s slows down.
This comparison with China is not unjustified. According to the report, India will be in the year 2030 what China is today. Even World Bank predicts that together with China, by the year 2015, India will bring in twice the economic growth as that of United States of America.
India’s diplomatic standing is really good. It has not been involved in international conflicts and has even managed to help out whenever an international crisis has occurred. The nation also has a good international reach, maybe because of the fact that it is the third largest contributor to UN Peacekeeping Forces worldwide.
Over the period of the next decade, as the country’s economy and international trade grows strong, maybe, just maybe, India will get what it has been vying for- a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. The only hindrance that the country faces is its ongoing conflict with Pakistan.
With a power index of 0.1593, a defense budget of US$51,000,000,000 and active military personnel of 1,362,500, India ranks number 4 on the list of top 10 most powerful militaries in the world. Add to it a total of 2,102 aircrafts and a naval strength of 295 and you have a country ready to tackle any military emergency.
To compare these figures to the country that ranked first of the list, USA, here are the statistics. The United States of America has a power index of 0.0857, a defense budget of $587,800,000,000 and active military personnel of 1,373,650. Its number of aircrafts stands at 13,762 and a naval strength of 415.
India also stands a chance to become a superpower by the year 2050 because of its location. Yes, years down the line, when humanity finally realizes that using fossil fuel is stripping Earth off its natural resources; there will come a time when people will finally accept and implement renewable energy.
When this will happen, no one can predict- but yes, whenever this happens, India will benefit from it. Solar isolation is a major factor for renewable energy and since India lies in the sunny tropical belt, people will turn towards the subcontinent for its energy sources.
India is home to a lethal (for the world) combo- it has a high population and it has a young population. Having the world’s second largest population, approximately 50% of it is below the age group of 24. Also, due to a high birth rate, approximately 65% of the nation’s population is below the age of 35. This gives India a huge workforce base which can last for a good two to three decades.
In the years to come, while some of the strong nations of the world will witness a decrease in populations and thus in turn, a decline in workforce, India will face no such problem. And just a quick trivia– India has the world’s largest English speaking population! Yes! Not even UK has that many English speaking people!
Being the world’s largest democratic republic has its own challenges. Politics plays an important role in the development of any nation and it holds truer for India. Till now, India has managed to be politically successful, especially considering that its population is made up of many different ethnicities and religions.
As mentioned earlier, India is trying to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. So far, it has had the support of UK, France and Russia for this. However, USA and China have not been so supportive of India being one of the members of the United Nations Security Council in the past. But, due to improved relations between USA and India in the recent past, USA might support the democratic republic in becoming a member.
India is rocking as far as science and technology is concerned. It is already becoming the world’s leading producers of computer software. It is also supporting and investing in research and development centres and is slowly undergoing a revolution in the field of science and technology.
Did you know that India was the third nation to establish a National Space Agency called Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)? The first two nations to do that were Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States of America. India is also the fourth country to reach the Moon’s surface. And, on 24th September 2014, it made history by becoming the fourth nation to have a satellite orbiting Mars.
Tourism will also play an important role in India becoming a superpower by 2050. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), India has the world’s 7th largest tourism economy in terms of GDP. According to the council’s well researched data, the travel and tourism sector added around Indian Rupees 14.1 trillion to the country’s GDP in the year 2016. That is around 9.6% of India’s GDP thus putting it on the 7th rank.
In addition to this, the tourism sector also created around 40.3 million jobs in the year 2016; this makes the sector as well as the country rank 2nd in the world in terms of total employment generated. Also, the sector was the fastest growing amongst the G20 countries in 2016. It grew by 8.5% in 2016 and is predicted to grow further by 6.7% in 2017.
As we mentioned in the beginning, when a country is strong in all of these factors- viz military, international relations, technology, economy and culture, that’s when it is deemed a superpower. Being a melting pot of religions and philosophies, as far as India’s culture is concerned, it is one of two ancient civilizations, having a history of over 5000 years that has endured the test of time.
Having had geniuses that have contributed globally, factors and inventions such as the numbering system, zero, calculus and even astronomy, we are sure the current and future generations will keep adding to this repository of contributions.
Although many cities and towns in India still don’t have a well established public transport system, the government is in the process of developing a modern mass rapid transit system. In lieu with this, cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kochi already have a modern metro rail system in place. With the onset of Bullet train and other ambitious projects will lead to quick economic growth which will in turn lead to India becoming a superpower by 2050.
Having said this, India will have to overcome a few obstacles that will hinder its journey towards superpower-dom. Corruption, energy dependency, insurgencies, lack of infrastructural development, low literacy levels, poverty, unemployment and elements that cause communal violence are some hurdles that India needs to jump over to rule the world by 2050.