Indian elite’s desire for big power status grew out of a belief about the Indic civilisational values that spread in the ages of antiquity to what we call North West, South East, East and even West Asia. When the British colonialists left India after denuding of almost all resources, India still was a leader amongst the post-colonial nations.
Comprehensive national power –
- As India’s economy improved adding value to the rather chimerical a measure of economic development, the gross domestic product (GDP), the Indian population turned increasingly ‘realist’ in strategic terms, with the profit motive being the primary source of their aspirational desires.
- This also caused the Indian State to count on the fact of higher and higher appropriation of national resources for the armed forces, including the police forces at both the central and state level.
- These developments also added to the idea of ‘comprehensive national power’ (CNP) – a Chinese term – that can be deployed in terms of national crises. It is a theoretical term for modernising the nation state.
Path of progress –
- In 1960, the urban population as a per cent of the total population was about 18 per cent. This steadily rose to 33 per cent in 2015.
- Since 1991 market reforms, India has embarked on the economic growth trajectory with above five per cent growth as an average since the start of this century.
- The policies of our nation-state have to be geared towards the rural population which is why the government has shifted its focus towards rural roads and electrification to move towards redistributive justice i.e. inclusive growth.
Geo-strategic goals –
- India’s geo-strategy is evolving still. It is searching for a handle over the Indian sub-continent as its pre-eminent power
- Before India can fully take on that role, the country needs to fix the domestic systems. The biggest problem the country faces is corruption that devalues any regime which comes to power in the eye of the people.
- Besides these rent seekers misappropriate the resources that were to be distributed amongst the people in need.
- In terms of India’s evolving geo-strategy, the maritime opportunities of limited projection of power has become evidently important.
- India’s preference for ‘strategic autonomy’ segues into its geo-strategic model very well. For maintaining that space, its Big Power engagement strategy has to be fine tuned by which none of the other powers can take umbrage.
- Biggest logjam in the path of industrialisation and progress is infrastructure.
- Excessive manoeuvring with the services sector bypassed the fruits of economic reform that must be available to the marginally advanced middle classes.
- The terms of trade between agriculture and industry remained adverse for farm sector right from the beginning of the economic reform programme.
- Pitfalls in tax collection and tax evasion serve as another roadblock to manufacture India’s comprehensive national power.
The path is long and tortuous; but the country is readying itself for its place at the global altar for some time now. The time window for achieving its goal is fast shrinking.