India as an Emerging Power in the Global Order
Manjulata Sharma, The writer is a Ph.D Research Scholar in Portuguese Language at PUC-Rio.
India´s clock for emergence as global power started ticking right at the midnight speech of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947. While Indians in most part of free India were celebrating the new found freedom, in another part, millions were grief struck after having to flee from mayhem of violence, arson, rape and bloodshed in divided India. In the biggest ever migration in history, scores of families, (mine was one of them from Rawalpindi) stared into a blank uncertain future. Unfathomable misery, suffering, poverty and hunger did not wane was our pride and unshakable faith in our inner strength and the grit to make things better.
And, better we did. Riding on the wave of Green Revolution in agriculture, in the Northern state of Punjab and Haryana to White revolution in milk production, in the western state of Gujrat, we were able to become self-sufficient in terms of food security. Our few universities at State and Central level along with IITs and Polytechnics with little resources then, were able to produce the best brains in the world with an eye on future. Therefore, degrees in hand, Indians looked westward to full fill their dream of a better life. Best Indian medicos, engineers, architects, artists, professors were welcomed with open arms in the west, where they inspired respect for Indians and India through their professionalism and age-old Indian cultural values in the adopted country. The wave of computer technology brought about by NIITs in the 90s and start-ups in the decade that followed, catapulted India’s image as answer to all of the world’s technical problems.
Politically, India never once faltered in its journey as the biggest democracy in the world. News agencies and TV channels from around the world land in India during the elections to cover the biggest voting bonanza in the world. The elections represent the ethos of Indian culture. The idea of Janata Janardan has been well entrenched in context of politics in India where Janata can bring down a government for issue as trivial as price of onions. As for as India’s foreign policy is concerned the traditional Sanskrit proverb Vasudhev kuttumbakkam has been India’s bedrock, oriented towards peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue. Unfortunately, our immediate across borders neighbours did not share our vision. That is the reason, India was an unwilling participant in three wars waged by our neighbours during the decades of 60-70s. We suffered losses but we emerged wiser.
Today India ranks fifth in the world for its military might and has the best trained and disciplined army in the world. India’s military power got a strategic advantage recently by acquisition of Rafael Aircrafts from France that are set to boost combat capabilities of Indian Air Force. India has been contributing to peace-keeping missions around the globe in war ravaged nations. Even in the times of natural calamities, India’s prompt action in sending aid to the earthquake affected areas in Nepal elicited admiration for India as a benevolent neighbour and earned a lot of good-will of our neighbours.
India, due to her good-will gestures and a peaceful approach to conflicts has become a beacon of hope for people fleeing war and oppression. Tibbetans, afghans found a peaceful haven in India and adopted wonderfully to the Indian way of life just like and Jews and Parsis who had once come to Indian shores looking for peace and hospitable land.
India has shown to the world that its NRI citizens called pravasis, wherever they choose to live in the world, are still dear to her, for their contribution as the cultural ambassadors. This bond is maintained through Apravasi Diwas when hundreds of NRIs congregate to share their experiences. In Aug-Oct, 1990, when India airlifted 170,000 Indians from war ravaged Gulf countries, the event entered into Guinness records for largest number of people airlifted. Again, from war-torn Yemen, India not only brought back its own citizens but also from other 16 countries. Recently during Pandemic of Corona virus, India air lifted 323 passengers from Wuhan in China and 7 from Maldives. The on- going Vande Bharat airlift from Oman is a testimony to the fact that India cares for its citizens in distress and flies them out to safety. The airlifting of more than Indians and nationalities of from war-torn Kuwait increased India’s standing as a powerful nation.
India is the 5th largest economy according to IMF in terms of data mapping in real GDP rate and 18th in the ranking of exporting countries according to Statista. In the ranking for ease of doing business, India jumped from 77th place to 63rd in 2020. These rankings although encouraging, point to a long road ahead to catch up with exporting giants like China and the U.S.A or countries or like New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan who top the list of ease of doing business. India ranks 34th in tourism despite being one of the ancient civilizations like Egypt and China with infinite potential for growth. Despite these economic indicators India’s image as a world power seems to grow by leaps and bounds,
Thanks to the ever growing spread of social media network’s greater reach to our millennial cultural and spiritual heritage, art, literature, music and dance forms; people from all over the world are showing keen and sustained interest in Indian culture. Thousands of schools and art centres are teaching Indian art forms in the western countries. The yoga international day becoming a reality, the world has increasingly accepted India as a knowledge economy having excelled in every field; science, art, agriculture or space. Based on vid, the Sanskrit root of Veda and Vidya, Indians have never been believers. Instead they have been seekers of truth; from Budhha to Gandhi who experimented with truth. Swami Vivekananda’s 1968 Chicago address that began with ‘my brothers and sisters in America, still rings loud and clear in the ears of youth and inspires them to serve their Nation.
In the field of mathematics the legendary Ramanujam, and the Guinness Record holder Shakuntala Devi, in the field of science Jagdish Chandra Bose, C.V. Raman, the economics Nobel laureates like Amartya Sen and Abhijit Mukherjee, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft CEO Nadela, have proved beyond an iota of doubt that Indians are second to none when in comes to knowledge and skills and leadership.
India is not only proving its mettle on the Earth but also in Space. The examples of Mangal Yaan launched at a cost less than the cost of making a Hollywood movie demonstrates the ingenuity of Indian planning and execution. ISRO launching dozens of satellites in space for the benefit of farmers and other areas of human interest is awe-provoking because of the shocking low- cost projects it materializes within the stipulated time frame. The group of women responsible for launch of Mangal Yaan in the orbit, made headlines around the world. Indian women have recently been inducted as fighter pilots and inspired hundreds of other young women to achieve great heights in the skies.
In renewable energy sector, India’s pioneering role in floating the idea of International Solar Alliance to reduce dependence on fossil fuel was lauded the world over. The initiative to unite the 121 Surya Putra nations to harness solar power has lately brought 200 countries under the umbrella by 2016. India’s solar capacity has reached 35.12 GW by 30 June 2020 becoming a role model for spearheading concerns and alternatives for climate change. India ranks 12th as far as energy generation from nuclear resources is concerned and ranks 7th in the field of Space Technology.
In domestic politics India has resolved many long-pending issues like abrogation of the article 370 in Kashmir, reforms in Sharia law for relief to Muslim women, Goods and Service Tax (GST) implementation, Demonitisation policy, Swatch Bharat Yojna, the latest amicable resolution of Ram Mandir case, reforms in education system from 10+2 to 5+3+3+4, will produce innovative and creative young citizens who will give a new impetus and boost to the emergence of India as a world leader. The internal political situation is an equally determinant factor in India’s external policies.
In the health sector and specially during pandemic, according to a report in Asian Review  “India is spending around $16 million -- half of it in Africa-- on pharmaceuticals, test kits and other medical assistance for some 90 countries battling the Covid-19 pandemic.” As a part of its health diplomacy, India was the first nation during Covid -19 pandemic, to reach out to countries such as Brazil, U.S.A with hydroxychloroquine and was highly appreciated for this timely help. The world was amazed how India was able to contain the coronavirus infections in the initial phase of the threat by imposing complete lockdown on 132 million people. India’s decision to recognize and appreciate the frontline corona warriors of medical fraternity, by showering them with flowers was watched in amazement by millions all across the globe.
Another significant factor beside its demographic advantage of large and young population seen as human capital, India has largest number of English speakers which facilitates its dominance in job market in the western world. Indians being a product of multilingual and multicultural society, are much more adaptable to unfamiliar situations and are characterised as risk- takers and hard workers by social scientists. In a fair playing field, they are able to rise as leaders and excel as innovators in their craft.
In the international scene, India’s candidacy to security council is backed by most of its members except China. Its membership in BRICS countries has provided not only access to South American market but also made its foray as a spiritual destination. The famous teleserial Caminhas das Indias, by TV Globo, opened flood gates for Brazilians to explore India as a tourist destination. Many Brazilian women still fantasize about entering a wedlock with an Indian man the way the character of the serial did! Some lucky ones have become beacon of hope for those not so lucky ones. Bollywood cinema has played a major role in spreading of Indian cultural values and fashion across the globe. Actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Amir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan have become household names with Indian films translated into various languages. This has generated immense curiosity and good will for Indians residents abroad.
If on one hand, India is amongst top ten most powerful countries in the world, on the other, it stands on top of the most spiritual country that gave to the world Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Indian saints, rishis and spiritual masters have preached love and harmony between religions and different faiths which is the hallmark of Indian society today.
The secret of the emergence of India as a Global power, lies in its family structure, the base of societal pyramid structure of any society. The Indian qualities of showing respect for elders, caring for youngers, robust institution of marriage, moral upbringing and faith in our heritage and traditions have produced emotionally secure and morally balanced individuals who go out in the world to become trail blazers for the rest to follow on. Ethics and honesty come naturally to Indian citizens who wear them as a medal. Love for our motherland is instilled by our schooling system. All these values make India an awe-inspiring country that many of us in Brazil experience almost every day.
I can say with conviction that Indian women have indirectly played the central role in Indian’s emergence as a global power. Had it not for their unconditional love, support and sacrifice for family and society as a whole, it would be impossible to even imagine the success that Indians achieve in whatever goal they set their eyes on. Indian women, an epitome of selfless love, juggling between job, children and family know how to balance all of them, keep them together to achieve best results. Our grandmothers have inculcated in us, the basic human values through stories from our epics, our mothers have taught us to sacrifice small comforts in order to achieve bigger goals. As daughters, sisters, wives, mothers and grandmothers, women nurture and nourish relationships beautifully, remaining silent in the wings while they give wings to their children fly high and touch the skies. On this auspicious occasion of Independence Day lets us give a huge salute and a loud shout out to the Incredible women of India.