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Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
INDIA: GREAT POWER STATUS

Zero-Watt Smile?

Before it goes to our head, let’s quantify—and qualify—our power

Zero-Watt Smile?
Jitender Gupta
Zero-Watt Smile?
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Obama's Booster Shots   Prescriptions For The Great Game
  1. Agrees to support India's quest for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. Legitimises India's rise.
     
  2. Promises to help India become a member of the NSG and other such bodies. Establishes India as a key player in the non-proliferation regime. 
     
  3. Removes Indian organisations from Entities List. Will enhance India's space and defence prowess.
     
  4. Wants US to partner India in Afghanistan. Means Pakistan can't whittle down New Delhi's definition of its neighbourhood.
     
  5. Keen on Indo-US joint ventures in Africa, recognises New Delhi's equity there. 
     
  6. Says India has emerged as a power, accepts it should play a role beyond South Asia. Subtext: it can balance China.
 
  1. Resolve Kashmir. Runs the risk of being shamed for its human rights violations there. 
     
  2. Solve the Maoist problem. You can't be a power with your own house on fire.
     
  3. Bridge the glaring economic inequality. You won't be taken seriously with half of the population living below poverty line.
     
  4. Be independent, not a camp-follower. Convince western powers to engage Iran rather than impose harsh sanctions on it. 
     
  5. Protect core interests. Engage Myanmar rulers as also push them to walk the road to democracy.
     
  6. Enemy of none, friends of all. Convince China that Indo-US relations not aimed against it.


Even at the worst of times, we Indians have had an exalted  notion of ourselves and our nation. Perhaps our hubris is rooted in our being an ancient civilisation, of having discovered the nuances of urban planning two millennia before the Romans, of having produced sophisticated philosophical treatises and a rich body of literature long before much of the world forsook the nomadic life. It’s we who showed the world the power of non-violence, overthrowing the British colonial masters and establishing a democracy in which every person had equal rights. Our forays in space and atomic research, best symbolised through Pokhran-I in 1974, were testimony to India’s brain power that overcame grinding poverty to herald the wonder that is India.

But this wonder called India didn’t impress the modern powers. The world, we sullenly noted, respected those countries which could create wealth and influence events beyond their national boundary. We didn’t possess these attributes of power in a substantial measure. And then, as they say, India decided on yet another tryst with destiny—we embraced market economy, galloped ahead in information technology, and registered astonishing growth. A habitual backbencher, India took a ringside seat in the global amphitheatre. Soon we wanted to be in the ring, jousting with the powers.

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