India a superpower? Unlikely, says LSE study

Last Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 00:09

London: Despite "impressive" achievements in
various sectors in recent years, India is unlikely to be a
superpower and in fact, should not aspire to become one, a
study by the London School of Economics (LSE) has concluded.

The study, titled `India: The Next Superpower?`, recalls
and dismisses US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton statement
during her visit to India in 2009 that "I consider India not
just a regional power, but a global power".

The LSE study comprising essays by nine experts in the
areas of India`s economy, defence, government, culture,
environment and society advises "caution in assessing India`s
claim to superpower status".

Ramachandra Guha, currently the Philippe Roman Chair in
History and International Affairs at the LSE, argues that it
is doubtful whether India should seek to become a superpower.

He cites seven reasons why India will not become a
superpower.

These are: "The challenge of the Naxalites; the insidious
presence of the Hindutvawadis; the degradation of the once
liberal and upright Centre; the increasing gap between the
rich and the poor; the trivialisation of the media; the
unsustainability, in an environmental sense, of present
patterns of resource consumption; the instability and policy
incoherence caused by multi-party coalition governments", he
writes.

Listing India`s several achievements that prompted
predictions and ambitions in some quarters about India being
the next superpower, the study goes on to discuss several
challenges that are likely to prevent India from realising
such ambitions.

It says: "Still, for all India`s success, its undoubted
importance and despite its undisputed potential, there is
cause for caution in assessing India`s claim to superpower
status.

"India still faces major developmental challenges. The
still-entrenched divisions of caste structure are being
compounded by the emergence of new inequalities of wealth
stemming from India`s economic success".

The study adds: "India`s democracy may have thrived in a
manner that few ever expected, but its institutions face
profound challenges from embedded nepotism and corruption.

"India`s economic success continues to come with an
environmental cost that is unsustainable".

Moreover, the study says that India has pressing security
preoccupations, but sees the country continuing to play a
constructive international role in, among other things, the
financial diplomacy of the G20.

"(It) certainly has a soft-power story to tell as a model
of liberal political and economic development.

"Perhaps even more significantly, the cultural impact of
Indian cuisine, literature, films, music and sporting events
will increasingly be felt globally through and beyond India`s
vast diaspora", the study says.

It adds: "Yet the hopes of those in the West who would
build up India as a democratic counterweight to Chinese
superpower are unlikely to be realised anytime soon".

Besides Guha, other contributors to the study are Rajeev
Sibal, Iskander Rehman, Nicolas Blarel, Oliver Stuenkel,
Harish Wankhede, Mukulika Banerjee, Andrew Sanchez and Sandeep
Sengupta.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 15:45

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