What makes a country a superpower? And what’s stopping India from becoming one?
Hello, everyone! In this article, you will read everything about the coveted superpower tag and India. India does have immense potential. In ancient times, it dominated the whole world. It’s a formidable regional power even now. But can it become a superpower, ever?
Before we answer this question we need to first learn what makes a country a superpower, or what are the qualities of a superpower as we have seen so far by reading modern history.
Well, these are the things I have observed –
Number 1: Access to a large variety of (if not all) natural resources as well as a large human workforce.
The reason, I use the word access, is because Britain, when it ruled all over the world didn’t have any, but had access to natural resources in the colonies it ruled. Things have changed now. Colonialism is no longer possible. So the country that aspires to be a superpower has to have these varied natural resources.
This is the reason why Germany, France, Italy and Britain can never be superpowers again. Well, as long as Imperialism is not back as a norm. The USA have all the resources. Including oil, coal and steel. Which is one of the reasons why it is a modern-day superpower.
Number 2: Seaports.
All superpowers should necessarily have a coastline. And they all are not only seafaring nations but are a formidable naval power too. The latter is to ensure that their trade routes are well protected. Yes, a landlocked country can never be a superpower. You have to have seaports to be in the race.
Number 3: When it comes to demographics, superpowers are largely homogenous. So, all this diversity thing is actually a total BS. Yes, diversity is good. Diversity is important as the Medici effect tells us. But the moment, the minority becomes a voting power, the moment they are able to affect the outcome of elections, it becomes a burden, instead. All superpowers have a deep state. And this deep state controls everything from behind the curtains no matter who is in power.
The formation of the deep state is not possible if there is too much diversity. For the simple reason that every clan, every creed will be at loggerheads all the time. The power struggle will never let them find commonalities and instead, people would focus on the differences. To sum up. A superpower must have diversity. But only to a limited extent.
Number 4: A superpower is not only an economic heavyweight but a force to reckon with when it comes to its military capabilities. Like it or not, being a superpower is a responsibility as well as a burden. You have to be able to bully the rest of the world. And this is not possible only through economic means alone. The rest of the world needs to fear you. They need to writhe with discomfort at the mere thought of upsetting you.
So, you have to be a bigwig militarily. You have to be the first one to test and have those futuristic weapons. Unless you can wreak havoc, no one in this world would fear you.
Of course, you need the political will too and show this capability from time to time by interfering in the affairs of others. And only then you will be able to bully the whole world. Moral or Immoral. This is the case. This is how the world works. Plain and simple.
A superpower has to be a hub of innovation and creativity. Merely being the world’s factory will only get you close but not actually there.
You have to produce intellectual property rights, patents and the latest and worthy research papers. You need to have the first mover’s advantage. Others should be following you in this world. Not you. You have to set the course for the future.
Unless, there is a lag of 10 years or more, between you and other nations when it comes to adopting the latest technologies, you won’t be able to dominate. You shouldn’t be the one to mimic. It should be the other way round.
Well, according to me, these are some of the important conditions necessary for a nation to be a superpower.
Now back to the topic. What’s stopping India from becoming one?
Let’s see, what all check-boxes India tick.
Number 1: Resources. Fortunately, India has all, except oil. And in addition to that, it is a land of diverse climates, soil, terrain, etc. Anything can grow here. And throughout the whole year. If not a particular region, then other. No wonder why every damn European country was rushing in the 15th century to find a sea route to India. Even America was an accidental discovery. The place where Columbus wanted to reach was India.
Anyway, let’s take the next point.
Number 2: Seaports. India has plenty. It is one of the few countries that have such a large coastline. And not only this. It is strategically placed too. Moreover, it is also working towards developing a strong navy to protect its sea assets and trade routes.
Number 3: Demographics. Here is where India lags. We, Indians are repeatedly told that diversity is our strength. But the bitter truth is that it is absolute hogwash. An idea to make us feel good. No, diversity of demographics is not our strength. It is exactly what is weighing us down. Rather than finding the commonalities, we look forward to finding the differences. As a result, a deep state is still not fully formed in India.
Because of this too much diversity, we have too many fault lines. Which will always give our opponents the chance to exploit them and keep us divided. So there is always infighting and internal struggle going on.
Sure, we unite at times as one entity. But it happens only on a few occasions. Internal security is a real issue for India. Each clan and creed can arm-twist our leaders, so there is vote bank and appeasement politics. As a result, we can never be a superpower. A number two or number three? Yes! But never number one!
But is this absolutely fine, right? So many of us say we don’t aspire to bully anyone in this world. We are a peaceful nation. With no ambitions to exploit others. Live and let live is our philosophy. Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam. We never invaded any country in the last 10000 years. Blah. Blah. Blah…
It’s okay. And good. And this diversity is super beautiful too. But then we Indians shouldn’t talk about or dream of becoming a superpower. Let’s be content with being a number 2 or number 3. It is not demeaning. Nor any less or inferior. We don’t have to be a part of this rat race at all in the first place.
Number 4 and Number 5: On the economic and military front we are becoming formidable, day by day. In fact, when it comes to areas like hypersonic rockets, software and app development, space technologies, pharma and vaccines, we are not even a couple of years behind the USA. We are even producing quality research papers and filing for IPRs and patents.
But then it all boils down to this –
Do we have the political will to be aggressive? Do we have the political will to bully other nations? Unless we stop being peaceful and be the aggressor, other nations wouldn’t fear us.
Yes, this is the bitter truth. Along with respect you also need to instil fear in others. But this is not in our nature. This has never been our geopolitical strategy. We seek global partnership and not global dominance. This is why we can never be a superpower.
It is a mental block, you see. Unless we steer clear of this hurdle, we shouldn’t dream about being a superpower. In fact, according to me, it is the single biggest factor stopping us from becoming a superpower.
Well, that’s it. On this note, I will end this article. Do let me know what you think about my observations and opinions. 😏 The comment section is all yours. 😉
Thanks for reading this piece.
Wishing you all a happy new year in advance.
Be safe this festive season from this new monster called Omicron.🙂