Superpower dreams and the road ahead

Superpower dreams and the road aheadShreepada Renu

By Kengal Shreepada Renu

India has to retain its talent if it wants to become an economic powerhouse
Since its creation, India's foreign policy was based on non-alignment in a bipolar world made up of the US and Soviet Union.
But things changed at the turn of the century. The world became unipolar, with the US being the only remaining superpower. Hence India had to move from its non-alignment foreign policy to adjust to the new reality since both were democratic countries. However, trade and commerce has taken centre stage.
Today's foreign policy is no longer based on the principle of us versus them, but on who can offer the best profits and trade, mutually beneficial to the countries concerned.
In this changed scenario, what does India have to offer the world in a globalised economy? We have technology, skilled labour force, natural wealth, consumer economy, and a services economy.
The Indian economic sphere of influence is very limited though we claim to have some of the best engineers and scientists in the world. This wealth of intellectual power has mainly benefited the US.
On the other hand, China has benefited from the US's China-centric policy started by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. They used the services of Pakistan, an ally of China, to pursue this policy. India was never in the radar of the US's economic interests. China had replaced Japan as the US's strategic partner during the Cold War. India was never considered as a natural ally of the US.
However, India realised that the core of our foreign policy revolved around energy security. We have been moving away from a non-aligned policy steadily for the last 20 years, keeping our energy requirement as the core of our foreign policy. It has paid dividends in the form of a US-India nuclear deal.
India's explosive economic growth, starting with Dr. Manmohan Singh's economic liberalisation, has made us realise that our electricity generation capacity has been well below demand.
What can India offer to the world?
India has to offer trade and commerce as a deterrent to China and Pakistan, with the former being an economic powerhouse.
We are now offering India as a destination for investments which we hope will create an environment that will make us a modern society. However, resources are finite, and with both India and China competing for the same goal of modernisation, the billion dollar question is: who will succeed?
I personally believe that we have the intellectual resources to succeed. However, for this to happen we have to concentrate on making it attractive for young and intelligent minds to live and flourish in India rather that search for greener pastures around the world.
If we de-regulate the capital industry, namely banks in India, which is very cumbersome to say the least, it would unleash the entrepreneur skills of India (remember Licence Raj?). Investors from other countries, including the US, will automatically invest and be attracted to India, which is the thrust of our evolving foreign policy.

In conclusion, if we aspire to be a global superpower, we need to take care of our foundation, without which we shall always be seen as a country going around with a begging bowl.