India and The 21st Century
First Published: ADawnJournal.com May 1, 2010
India is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. Going back 5,000 years, there has been organized civilizations living on the Indian subcontinent. Through all this time, India has had an immense impact on our civilization. It was in India where Buddhism first came into being, as did the Hindu religion. In addition, India was as far as Alexander the Great reached before turning back his army and India gave us two of the most important people of the 20th century; Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. What does the 21st century hold for this amazing country? Well, if many experts can be believed, the 21st century may be the century where India becomes a superpower.
Many publications and academic papers cite India as being a potential great power in the 21st century but there are many challenges facing the country. Many consider India to be the underdog in becoming a superpower because of these challenges. First of all, most consider China an emerging superpower, but China is several decades ahead of India in several regards and the average Chinese individual has a better life than the average Indian individual. Other problems that relate to India include immense rural poverty, slums that are often full of disease, corruption and the huge maternal mortality rates that exist within the India subcontinent.
Another problem with India attaining the superpower label in the 21st century is that there are a lot of Indians leaving the country, in massive numbers, which is something that China is also suffering from.
This doesn’t mean that the country is not making headway. For one thing, the caste system which has existed for centuries is being dismantled to allow more upward momentum within the country, allowing more to live the lives they have always dreamed of. In addition, the country, unlike China, is completely democratic and is the world’s largest democracy.
Will India become a superpower on the scale of China, Russia, the European Union or the United States in the 21st century? Well, most likely it will not occur within the first 50 years of the century. As the century draws to a close, there is a chance that the country may be able to move more towards becoming a superpower. This does not mean that India will not be important. It will be highly influential in the 21st century and will probably find its way into the upper echelon of countries at the United Nations. The country also has a very successful professional class of people and more and more people are coming out of poverty within the country. The relationship of India with Pakistan is also a problem as both countries are nuclear states and there may be the demand by many other countries that for the country to join the superpowers of the world, some sort of peaceful resolution over the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan must be reached.
India is going to be a powerful country, without a doubt, in the 21st century. Will it be a superpower? Not for many years to come.