India - the next emerging Superpower of Asia
By Srimal Fernando, Global Editor
Every year since 1950 the Republic Day of India is commemorated on January 26 in a patriotic spirit by more than a billion people living in the twenty eight States and seven Union territories throughout India. Hoisting the Indian tricolor flag with a guard of honor by the Indian Armed forces and singing of ‘Jana Gana Mana’, the inspirational national anthem composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and remembering the makers of Modern India, Mohandas Gandhi (Gandhiji ) the father of the Nation, Jawaharlal Nehru the first Prime Minister of India, all martyrs of the Indian Independence movement, starts of the Republic Day in a festive theme in the country.
Today India has made significant strides both in economic growth, social development and is an emerging superpower playing a leading role in global political issues. The country has successfully integrated into a global economy and widened its horizon in a number of sectors after gaining Independence from the British Raj on 15 August 1947.
As India gained admission to the United Nations (UN), the country was a founding member of the Non-aligned movement (NAM). India had the privilege and honor of being at the forefront of establishing the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) with her neighboring countries. The country is also a member of the Commonwealth, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), G20 industrial nations. India’s relations with Russia, China, South Africa and Brazil are both close and historical. These countries laid a solid foundation and have taken the partnership to new heights through IBSA ( India, Brazil, South Africa ) Dialogue forum and through BRICS ( Brazil, Russia, India , China and South Africa ) summit. The BRICS summit’s focus was on means of improving the global economic situation and reforming financial institutes. The IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Dialogue Forum was created to promote cooperation and consensus among India, Brazil and South Africa. IBSA represents three important poles for galvanizing South – South Cooperation and greater understanding between three countries. India has benefited from the extensive network of trade agreements.
Defence and Strategic Security Mandate
India being a nuclear state has a 1.3 million strong armed force known as the “Bharatiya Sasastra Senaen”. It is the third largest military force in the World that spends on latest defense technology and maintains modern defense industry. In securing and stretching its maritime superiority in the Indian ocean “Vikramaditya” the 44,500 ton aircraft carrier was commissioned as the biggest ever warship by the Indian Navy in November 2013. Plans by the government to expand the Indian defense industry beyond the Indian sub continent was featured through a four day annual event “DEFENEXPO” India with more than 500 companies and over 30 countries displaying weapon systems is organized by the Ministry of Defence .
Higher Education, Science and Technology
India is gifted with world famous educational institutions. The most well-known of all are the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras universities played a pioneering role in the development of the modern education system in the country.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) the rocket and space program of India established in 1969 successfully launched their first satellite “Rohini” in the mid Seventies. Since then a number of satellites and rockets were launched by the ISRO in recent years.
Economic Reforms and Growth
Over the years, the past and present Governments of India took an active role in guiding the nation's economic development and worked to integrate the country into the global economic marketplace. The county has been a watershed in the distribution of welfare and socio economic policies. During the past 66 years India has determined to create the most favorable conditions for the investment of foreign capital to develop modern technology to utilize the country’s resources. Today the results speak for themselves. The story of the country’s economic stability began several decades ago. During the first stage of the country’s economic development the Indian Green Revolution was a significant milestone and a modern approach to be self-sufficient in food grains. M.S Swaminathan known as the “Father of the Green Revolution” has been the source of strength during the pioneering work. In order to create an Indian model of liberal and free market economy in 1991 the country implemented a series of economic reforms. India is a huge market with a huge potential. In a little more than a generation average real income of Indians had doubled. Strategically, India plays an important role in trade and investment throughout the world and has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. The country continues to attract investment funds on a large-scale under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). According to statistics by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) the Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) inflows were worth US$ 22.42 billion from 2012 to 2013. Services, hotel and tourism, metallurgical, construction, automobiles and pharmaceutical were the sectors that received large FDI inflows. The turnover of the country’s exports was estimated at US$ 300 billion. Indian cities such as Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Bangalore are considered as global financial hubs, with Indian and Foreign banks offering world-class corporate bank account facilities. . The Finance Ministry of India contributed greatly to maintain its momentum on sustained rapid economic growth. One of the oldest and largest apex business organizations the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) makes various business policy recommendations to the government and represents nearly 250,000 businesses. “Industry’s Voice for Policy Change” is the slogan used by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Indian Culture and Heritage
“Namaste" is the Indian common way of greeting outsiders with both palms placed together and raised below the face. One can find a mixture of various arts and cultural scenarios in the country. India is a place where the people not only love food and shopping but are also lovers of music and dance. Over the years Indian cinema, especially the Bollywood movies, has won praise globally. India possesses an enormous cultural richness which it owes not only to its history but also to its formidable heritage.
Tourism and Sports
The country possesses an enormous cultural richness with uncountable attractions to see and offers an unmatched experience to the traveler. Among them the national capital Delhi and the commercial capital Mumbai are the places of importance for centuries .Some of the breathtaking attractions visitors can see in India are the Taj Mahal, the 17th century Red Fort complex constructed in 1639 by Emperor Shahjahan ,the 42-metre tall hexagon complex India Gate is the national monument of India situated in the heart of New Delhi. Since 1971 India Gate has been the Tomb for unknown soldiers. Also there are many other UNESCO World Heritage spots located in various states in India. In 2011, tourism made significant gains, experiencing a boom with 6.29 million foreign visitors coming to discover this beautiful country with US$16.56 billion as foreign exchange earnings (FEE) from tourism (Annual Report, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, 2011-12). Cricket is still a widely popular sport in the Indian sub-continent .The 1983 and the 2011 stunning wins in the cricket World Cup finals prompted the Indian fans to cheer and clap on the streets of India Sachin Tendulkar, the determined batsman became a global cricketing star in the recently held cricket World Cup victory.
The country is now in the forefront in economics, diplomacy, welfare policies, education, scientific research, tourism, defense, space technology and in sports. India is emerging as the next Superpower of Asia.