WITHIN Asia, it is Chinese activity, not Chinese inactivity, that has people worried, and their concern is understandable. Perhaps most provocative is China’s devotion to the “nine-dash line”, an ill-defined swish of the pen around the South China Sea. Within this perimeter, China claims all the dry land and, it appears, all the water and seabed too; by way of contrast, the rules of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) would tend to see quite a lot of those things as subject to claims from other countries. Speaking in June at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual regional-security shindig in Singapore, Wang Guanzhong, a Chinese general, made it clear that although China respected UNCLOS, the convention could not apply retroactively: the nine-dash line was instituted in the 1940s and the islands of the South China Sea have been Chinese for 2,000 years.
Others in China have been blunter. Wu Shicun, head of the National Institute for South China Seas Studies, based on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, recently pointed out that UNCLOS was developed under Western guidance and that, looking to the long term, “we should rebuild through various methods of regional co-operation a more reasonable, fairer and more just international maritime order that is guided by us.” Not surprisingly, this has caused concern in Washington. “How much of the temple do they actually want to tear down?” asks Douglas Paal, a former American official now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Probably not all that much, for now. But “China gets it that being a great power is messy, and involves trampling on a few flowers,” says Lyle Goldstein of America’s Naval War College. “It is a price the Chinese are willing to pay.” Rules such as those which say the nine-dash line must be respected might be acceptable for the small fry. But as China’s then foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, vocally pointed out at a meeting of regional powers in Hanoi in 2010, “China is a big country and other countries are small countries and that is a fact.”
Militarily, this is indeed the case. China’s armed forces are, if not technologically first-rate, certainly large and impressive, not least because they include a nuclear-missile force. But some of Mr Yang’s small countries have a big friend. With troops and bases in Japan and South Korea, America has been the dominant power of the western Pacific for 70 years. Its regional presence has not declined much since it won the cold war a quarter of a century ago. On a trip to Asia in 2011 Barack Obama announced a “pivot” of his country’s policy away from the Middle East and towards Asia.
China’s leaders are convinced that America is determined to prevent their country from increasing its strategic and military influence in Asia—that it is trying to contain China as it once sought to contain and eventually crush the Soviet Union. The irony is that China is the only country that really believes the pivot is happening. South-East Asian nations express a fair amount of scepticism at the idea that America’s attention has been newly fixed on their region, and his opponents in America claim Mr Obama has done far too little to follow through on what he said in 2011.
That said, the recent Shangri-La Dialogue did nothing to dispel China’s fears. Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, offered to assist China’s neighbours with military hardware, and has been pushing, within the constraints of Japan’s pacifist post-war constitution, for a more robust defence policy in the region. In his first year in office Mr Abe visited every member of the Association of South-East Asian Nations. America’s secretary of defence, Chuck Hagel, endorsed Mr Abe’s ideas at Shangri-La, accusing China of “destabilising unilateral actions”.
China has been assertive in the South China Sea for decades, but there has been a distinct hardening of its position since Mr Xi came to power. Recent moves to dominate the seas within the “first island chain” that runs from Okinawa through Taiwan to the Spratlys (see map) have alienated almost all the country’s neighbours. “It would be hard to construct a foreign policy better designed to undermine China’s long-term interests,” argues Brad Glosserman of the Pacific Forum CSIS, a think-tank.
The moves are undoubtedly motivated in part by a desire to control the resources of the sea bed. But China itself does not see them as straightforward territorial expansionism. Chinese leaders believe their own rhetoric about the islands of the East and South China Seas having always been part of their territory–a territory that, since the death of Mao, they have chosen to define as almost the empire’s maximum extent under the Qing dynasty, rather than its more modest earlier size. And if they are expressing this territorial interest aggressively, they are behaving no worse—in their eyes, better—than the only other power they see as their match. The Chinese note that America is hardly an unsullied protector of that temple of the global international order; it enjoys the great-power prerogatives and dispensations they seek for their own nation. Disliking the restraints of international treaties perhaps even more than China does, America has not itself ratified UNCLOS. With a handful of allies it rode roughshod over the international legal system to invade Iraq.
China might also note parallels between its ambitions and those of America’s in days gone by. Although America waited until the early 20th century to take on a global role, it defined an ambitious regional role a hundred years earlier. In 1823 James Monroe laid out as policy a refusal to countenance any interference in the Western hemisphere by European nations; all incursions would be treated as acts of aggression. Conceptually, what China wants in East Asia seems akin to a Monroe Doctrine: a decrease in the influence of external powers that would allow it untroubled regional dominance. The difference is that the 19th-century Americas did not have any home-grown powers to challenge the United States, and most of its nations were quite content with the idea of keeping European great powers out of the area. At least in its early years, they were the doctrine’s beneficiaries, not its subjects.
China is not completely uncompromising. Along its land borders it has let some disputes fade away and offered a bit of give and take. But this is in part because the South and East China Seas are seen as more strategically important. A key part of this strategic importance is the possibility that, eventually, the question of Taiwan’s sovereignty will come to a head; it is in effect protecting its flanks in case of a future clash with America on the matter. The ever-volatile situation in North Korea could also create a flashpoint between the two states.
When Mr Xi said, at his 2013 California summit with Mr Obama, that “the vast Pacific has enough space for two large countries like the United States and China,” it was an expression not so much of the possibility of peaceful coexistence that must surely come from being separated by 10,000km of water, as of the idea that the western Pacific was a legitimate Chinese sphere of influence.
And if Mr Xi’s words, repeated to America’s secretary of state, John Kerry, in Beijing in July, seemed to imply a symmetry between the countries, China knows that, in fact, it enjoys various asymmetric advantages. For one, it is a unitary actor. It can drive wedges between America and its allies in the region. Hugh White, an Australian academic, argued in a recent article that, by threatening other Asian countries with force, “China confronts America with the choice between deserting its friends and fighting China.”
China’s armed forces are much less proficient than America’s. But China enjoys the advantage of playing at home. America can dominate these seas only through naval and air operations. If Chinese anti-ship missiles present a serious threat to such operations they can greatly reduce America’s ability to project power, without putting China to the expense of developing a navy of its own remotely so capable. Thus the military forces of the two sides are not as unbalanced as one might think by simply counting carrier groups (of which China is building its first, whereas America has ten, four of them in the Pacific).
China also thinks there is an asymmetry of will. It sees a war-weary America as unlikely to spend blood and treasure defending uninhabited rocks of no direct strategic importance. America may speak loudly, but its big stick will remain unwielded. China’s people, on the other hand, their views shaped not just by propaganda but also by a nationalism that needs scant encouragement, look on the projection of power in the China seas very favourably. And its military-industrial complex yearns to be paid to build bigger, better sticks of its own. Even if party leaders wanted to succeed in their stated desire for a peaceful rise and to remain within international law, the way they have shaped the spirit of their country would not necessarily let them.
This is especially true when it comes to Japan, the country which took on the role of regional power in Asia when China was laid low in the 19th century, and with which relations would always be most vexed. The vitriolic propaganda against the Japanese in Chinese media scarcely needs official prompting; Chinese suffering under Japan’s cruel occupation is well remembered. Japan is a useful whipping boy to distract attention from the party’s inadequacies. China’s leaders have legitimate security concerns and a right to seek a larger international role for their nation but, obsessed with their own narrative of victimhood, they do not see that they themselves are becoming Asia’s bullies.
The Republic of India is considered as one of the emerging superpowers of the world. This potential is attributed to several indicators, the primary ones being its demographic trends and a rapidly expanding economy and by GDP India became world's fastest growing economy in 2015 with 7.3% GDP rate. The country must overcome many of the economic, social, and political problems before it can be considered a superpower. It is also not yet as influential on the international stage when compared to the United States or the former Soviet Union.
Factors in favour
View of the Himalaya and Mount Everest as seen from space looking south-south-east from over the Tibetan Plateau. The Himalayas in the north and north-east protect the subcontinent from bitter continental cold, save the monsoon winds from escaping, and replenish the river watersheds and flat arable lands that have spawned the Indian civilization.
The Metropolis of Mumbai as seen from above during night time. Mumbai is one of the most modern and cosmopolitan cities in India
India lies in the cultural region of Indian Ocean - a zone with unprecedented potential for growth in the scale of transoceanic commerce, with many Eurasian and increasingly Afro-Asian sea-trade routes passing through or close to Indian territorial waters. The subcontinent's land and water resources, though strained, are still sustaining its massive population. According to George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston of the British Empire:
The central position of India, its magnificent resources, its teeming multitude of men, its great trading harbors, its reserve of military strength, supplying an army always in a high state of efficiency and capable of being hurled at a moment's notice upon any point either of Asia or Africa--all these are assets of precious value. On the West, India must exercise a predominant influence over the destinies of Persia and Afghanistan; on the north, it can veto any rival in Tibet; on the north-east . . . it can exert great pressure upon China, and it is one of the guardians of the autonomous existence of Siam. Possession of India gave the British Empire its global reach.
Possible future advantage of location
In the future, the world is expected to exit the "fossil fuel age", and perhaps the "nuclear energy age", and enter the "renewable-energy age" or even further into the "fusion power age", if and whenever these technologies become economically sustainable. Being a region in the sunny tropical belt, the Indian subcontinent could greatly benefit from a renewable energy trend, as it has the ideal combination of both - high solar insolation and a big consumer base density. For example, considering the costs of energy consumed for temperature control (a major factor influencing a region's energy intensity) and the fact that - cooling load requirements, unlike heating, are roughly in phase with the sun's intensity, cooling from the excessive solar radiation could make great energetic (and hence economic) sense in the subcontinent, whenever the required technology becomes competitively cheaper. India also has 25% of the world's thorium resources.
Main article: Demographics of India
India has the world's second largest population.The PGR for the country is 1.25. A very large number of India's population, about 50%, is below the age group of 24. This provides the nation with a large workforce for many decades, helping in its growth. The government is training a 400 million-workforce, which is larger than the population of the United States and Brazil combined.
Due to its high birth rate India has a young population compared to most aging nations. It has approximately 65% of its population below the age of 35. In addition, declining fertility is beginning to reduce the youth dependency rate which may produce a demographic dividend. In the coming decades, while some of the powerful nations will witness a decrease in workforce numbers, India is expected to have an increase. For example, while Europe is well past its demographic window, the United States entered its own in 1970 (lasting until 2015), China entered its own in 1990 (and will last until 2025), India would not enter its own window until 2010 (and it will last until 2050). In the words of Indian Scholar Rejaul Karim Laskar, "when greying population will be seen inhibiting economic growth of major countries, India will be brimming with youthful energy". Regionally, South Asia is supposed to maintain the youngest demographic profile after Africa and the Middle East, with the window extending up to the 2070s.
More than 35 million Indians live across the globe. Under fair opportunities, they have become socio-economically successful.
Foreign language skills
The importance of the English language in the 21st century is a topic of debate, nonetheless the growing pool of non-native English speakers makes it the best contender for "Global language" status. Incidentally, India has the world's largest English speaking/understanding population. It claims one of the largest workforce of engineers, doctors and other key professionals, all comfortable with English. It has the 2nd largest population of "fluent English" speakers, second only to the United States, with estimates ranging from 150 to 250 million speakers, and is expected to have the largest in coming decades. Indians are also learning Dutch, Italian, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.
Main article: Politics of India
India is the world's largest democratic republic, more than three times bigger than the next largest (the United States). It has so far been successful politically, especially considering its functionality despite its difficult ethnic composition. The fact that India is a democracy has improved its relations with other democratic nations and significantly improved its ties with the majority of the nations in the developed world.
Candidacy for Security Council
India has been pressing for permanent membership of the United NationsSecurity Council (as part of the G4 nations) but with a clause that it won't exercise its veto for the next 15 years. It has received backing from France,Russia, and the United Kingdom. However, China and the United States have not been supportive of the bid. With improved India–United States relations, the United States is expected to reconsider its stand.
As of 2016, India is said to have received support from all the five permanent members of United Nations Security Council for its candidacy.
Main article: Foreign relations of India
India has developed relationships with the world powers like the European Union,Japan, Russia, and the United States. It also developed relationships with the African Union (particularly South Africa), the Arab World, Southeast Asia, Israel and South American nations (particularly Brazil). In order to make the environment favourable for economic growth, India is investing on its relations with China. It has significantly boosted its image among Western nations and signed a civilian nuclear deal with the United States in March 2006. It is also working for better relationships with Pakistan.
Role in international politics
Historically, India was one of the founding members of Non-Aligned Movement, and had good relationships with Soviet Union and other parts of western world. It played regional roles in South Asian affairs, e.g. its use of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in the Bangladesh Liberation War and in Sri Lanka. It took a leading initiative to improve relations between African and Asian countries. India is an active member of the Commonwealth and the WTO. The evolving economic integration politics in the West and in Asia is influencing the Indian mood to slowly swing in favour of integration with global economy. Currently, India's political moves are being influenced by economic imperatives. New Delhi is also being observed to slowly, cautiously, and often hesitantly, step into the uncharted role of becoming one of the two major seats of political power in Asia, the other being at Beijing. Some enlightened thinkers from the subcontinent have also envisioned, over the long run, of a South Asian version of free trade zone and even a Union, where the South Asian nations relinquish all past animosities and move to make economic growth a pan subcontinental phenomenon.
A new and highly controversial geopolitical strategy, being debated in the West, is whether India should be trusted/helped to become an economically strong democratic citizen of the world and be used to balance the powerful but non-democratic forces, to insure a more stable world. Generally speaking it is discussed in the context of adopting a policy of offshore balancing on the part of the United States. A new American strategy towards India has been indicated in George W. Bush's recent visit to the subcontinent.
India's current economic growth (as the world's fastest-growing major economy as of 2015) has improved its standing on the world's political stage, even though it is still a developing country, but one that is showing strong development. Many nations are moving to forge better relationships with India.
Main article: Economy of India
The economy of India is currently the world's third largest in terms of real GDP (PPP) after the USA and the People's Republic of China. According to the World Bank India overtook China to become the fastest-growing major economy in the world as of 2015 Its record growth was in the third quarter of 2003, when it grew higher than any other emerging economy at 10.4%. Interestingly, estimates by the IMF show that in 2011 (see List of countries by future GDP estimates (PPP)), India became the third largest economy in the world, overtaking the Japanese economy and the Seventh largest economy by GDP (Nominal). India has grown at 7.5% in 2015.
India, growing at 9% per year, is the world's second largest producer of food next to China. Food processing accounts for USD 69.4 billion as gross income.
India is still relatively a small player in manufacturing when compared to many world leaders. Some new trends suggest an improvement in future, since the manufacturing sector is growing at 11-12%.
Tertiary and quaternary sector
India currently has an expanding IT industry which is considered one of the best in the world. Some have begun to describe India as a technology superpower. It is considered the World's Office and is leading in the Services Industry. This is mainly due to the availability of a large pool of highly skilled, low cost, English speaking workforce.
Science and technology
Main article: Science and technology in India
India is trying to develop more highly skilled, English speaking people to fit in the future knowledge economy. India is becoming one of the world's leading producers of computer software and with mushrooming R&D centres it is experiencing a steady revolution in science and technology. A typical example of India's rising scientific endeavours is that it was the 3rd nation to found a National Space Agency called ISRO, after the USSR and the U.S. It was the third Asian nation to send satellites into space after China and Japan in 1970, starting with Aryabhata in 1975. In January 2007, India became the fourth nation to complete atmospheric reentry In October 2008, India launched its first unmanned lunar probe, Chandrayaan 1, which operated until August 2009. On 14 November 2008, the Moon Impact Probe separated from the Chandrayaan orbiter at 20:06 and was deliberately made to strike the Moon near the south pole, making India the fourth country to reach the Moon's surface. Among its many achievements was the discovery of the widespread presence of water molecules in lunar soil. On 24 September 2014 India became the fourth nation to have a satellite orbiting Mars. India is the first Asian nation to achieve this and the first to do so in its first try. India and the United States have increased mutual cooperation in space-travel related technologies, such as increasing the interoperability between Indian and US systems, and prospects for a commercial space launch agreement with India that would allow US satellites to be launched on Indian vehicles. India is among the world leaders in remote sensing, a technology coming to great use, among others, to Indian fishermen & farmers. India is also trying to join international R&D projects - e.g. it has recently joined the European Galileo GPS Project and the ITER for fusion energy club. Some Indian educational and research institutions like IIT,IISER, NIT, BITS Pilani, IIM, IISc, TIFR and AIIMS are among the world's best.
To reduce the energy crisis, India is presently constructing ~ 9 civilian nuclear power reactors and several hydro-power stations. On 25 January 2007, Russian president Vladimir Putin offered to build 4 more reactors on a visit to India and India is expected to clinch this deal of strategical importance. Recently it also made a civilian nuclear energy deal with the US and EU. In recent years, India joined China to launch a vigorous campaign to acquire oil fields around the world and now has stake in several oil fields (in the Middle East and Russia).
Mass transit system
India is in the process of developing modern mass rapid transit systems to replace its existing system which is seen as inadequate to cater to present and future urban requirements. A modern metro rail system is already in place in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Kochi. Work is in progress or would be commencing shortly for developing similar mass transit system in cities of NOIDA, Hyderabad, Indore and Ahmedabad. Indore is leading the track by implementing world class GPS enabled, low floor buses in a Rapid Transport System. With growth in economy and technology, India is welcoming modernisation. The Indian rail network traverses the length and breadth of the country, covering a total length of 63,140 km (39,200 miles). It is one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting over 9 billion passengers and over 350 million tonnes of freight annually. Its operations covers twenty-seven states and three Union territories and also links the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, other public transport systems, such as buses are often not up to the standards followed in developed countries. India is heading towards implementation of high-speed rail in the country.
Main article: Tourism in India
India, with its diverse and fascinating history, arts, music, culture, spiritual & social models has witnessed the growth of a booming tourism industry. India is a historic place with a diverse history of over five millennia. About 3.9 million tourists travelled to India in 2005, each spending approximately $1,470 per person, higher than that of France (the leading tourist destination in the world). Foreign visitors in 2005 spent more than US $15.4 billion annually in India. Many travellers find the cultural diversity an enriching experience, despite the hassles inefficiency, pollution and overcrowding. Monuments like the Taj Mahal are among the many attractions of this land. As of 2006, Conde Nast Traveller ranked India the 4th most preferred travel destination. The Planning Commission expects 5.8 million tourists travelling to India by 2010. The World Travel and Tourism Council believes India's tourism industry will grow at 10% per annum in the next decade, making it lead the world in terms of growth. Tourism contributes 6% of India's GDP and employed 40 million people, making it an important factor in India's economic growth. More than 8 million foreign tourists arrived in the year 2015 against 7.68 million in 2014 recording a growth of 4.4 percent over 2014.
"First World medical services at Third World prices" - Indian Metros have emerged as the leading destination of medical tourism. Last year, an estimated 150,000 foreigners visited India for medical procedures, and the number is increasing at the rate of about 15 percent a year.
Main article: Indian Armed Forces
The Indian Armed Forces, India's main defence organisation, consists of two main branches: the core Military of India and the Indian Paramilitary Forces. The Military of India maintains the third largestactive duty force in the world after China and the United States, while the Indian Paramilitary Forces, over a million strong, is the second largest paramilitary force in the world. Combined, the total armed forces of India are 2,414,700 strong, the world's third largest defence force.
The Army of India, as the Indian army was called under British rule before 1947, played a crucial role in checking the advance of Imperial Japan into South Asia during World War II. It also played a leading role in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Today, the Indian Army is the world's third largest army after United States Army and Chinese People's Liberation Army.
The Indian Air Force is the fourth largest air force in the world. India recently inducted its second indigenously manufactured combat aircraft. India is also developing the fifth generation stealth aircraft.
The Indian Navy is the world's fifth largest navy. It is considered to have blue-water capabilities with sophisticated missile-capable warships, aircraft carrier, minesweepers, advanced submarines and the latest aircraft in its inventory, along with a significant use of state of the art technology that is indigenously manufactured. It operates two aircraft carriers and also plans to induct the INS Vikrant by 2018 followed by a larger INS Vishal.
Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP)
India started the IGMDP to be a self-reliant nation in missile development. The IGMDP program includes five missiles like the Prithvi and Agni of ballistic missiles, surface to air missiles Trishul and Akash and also the anti tank Nag missile. Prithvi and Agni missiles are inducted into the armed forces and form the basis of Indian nuclear second strike capability. Trishul missile is declared a technology demonstrator. The Akash (Sky) is in service with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. While Nag and Helina missiles are undergoing user trials. Recently, a new weapons system, the beyond visual range air-to-air Astra missile was added to the project. Also India has fielded many modern missiles like the anti ballistic missiles like the AAD and PAD along with submarine launched ballistic missiles for its Arihant class of nuclear ballistic submarines. The expertise in developing these missiles has helped Indian scientists to contribute to joint weapon development programs like the Brahmos and Barak-II. India is also developing long range cruise missiles similar to the Tomahawk class of missiles called Nirbhay. There are reports of India developing an intercontinental ballistic missile beyond the range of ten thousand kilometers. India is self-reliant in missile technology.
India has possessed nuclear weapons since 1974, when it did the Pokharan I nuclear tests, and the means to deliver them over long distances. However, India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (on grounds of security concerns and that India condemns the NPT as discriminatory).
India is currently world's largest arms importer, spending an estimated US$16.97 billion in 2004. India has made military technology deals with the Russian Federation, the U.S., Israel and the EU.
Current major roles
The Indian Armed Forces plays a crucial role in anti-terrorist activities and maintaining law and order in the disputed Kashmir region. India has also participated in several United Nations peace-keeping missions, currently being the largest contributor to UN peace keeping force and is the second-largest contributor to the United Nations Democracy Fund behind the USA.
Main article: Culture of India
Main article: History of India
India is one of two ancient civilizations, dating back to at least 5,000 years, which have stood the test of time and survived against all odds. Indians invented the numbering system (introduced into the West by Arabic mathematicians, Arabic numerals), the concept of zero, logic, geometry, basic algebra, calculus, probability, astronomy etc. India has a long history of cultural intercourse with many regions of the world, especially within Asia, where its cultural influence has spread through the philosophy of religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, etc. - particularly in East and Southeast Asia. Many religions with origins outside the Indian subcontinent - Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Bahá'í Faith - have found followers in India. Indian culture has spread to foreign lands through wandering traders, philosophers, migration and less through conquest. According to Chinese ambassador to the United States, Hu Shih:
India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border. - Hu Shih
Main article: Cinema of India
India's film industry produces more feature films than any other. In a year, it sold 3.6 billion tickets, more than any other film industry in the world (In comparison, Hollywood sold 2.6 billion tickets). The cinemas play a major role in spreading Indian culture worldwide. Indian cinema transcended its boundaries from the days of film Awara, a great hit in Russia. Bollywood films are seen in central and west Asia. Indian films have also found audience in eastern societies. India's film industry is now becoming increasingly popular in Western society, with Bollywood festivals occurring numerous cities and Bollywood dance groups performing in New Years Eve celebrations, treatment which other non-English film industries generally do not receive.
Unity in diversity of world view
India has a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious society living together. The subcontinent's long and diverse history has given it a unique eclectic culture. It is often associated with spirituality. Thanks to its history of both indigenous and foreign influences - like the ancient Indian religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism and the ancient Middle East Asian schools of thought (Abrahamic - Islam, Christianity, Judaism etc.) - the current Indian civilizational psyche is evolving into a complex mix of them - sometimes a superposition of religious philosophies with acceptance of the conflicting cosmologies, sometimes striking a middle ground, and sometimes taking the practical attitude - popular with the young - of "filtering the common best, and leaving the rest", thus leading to the creation of many syncretic mix of faiths (such as Sai Baba of Shirdi). Since Independence, India has regained its more progressive schools of thought, like - democracy, secularism, rule of law, esteem for human rights, rational deductive reasoning, development of Science and Technology, etc. - are making slow but steady inroads into the collective modern Indian psyche. India's diversity forces it to evolve strong foundations of tolerance and pluralism, or face breakup. The Indian public is now also accepting modern western influences in their society and media - and what is emerging is a confluence of its past local culture with the new western culture ("Social Globalisation"). For some futuristic social thinkers, the miscegenation of diverse ancient culture with modernity, spirituality with science/technology, Eastern with Western world-view is potentially making India a social laboratory for the evolution of futuristic global-unity consciousness.
Points against the rise of India as a superpower
India has had border disputes with both China and Pakistan. This has led to 3 wars with Pakistan and a war with China. Mapped is the location of the 1999 Kargil Conflict, which is the most recent of India's direct military encounters with the Pakistani military.
Cost of democratic republicanism
Democratic republicanism has its value, more so in a multi-ethnic country like India. However, the applicability of the "theoretical" virtues of republicanism on a country like India is sometimes questioned. Some thinkers consider India's diverse democracy to levy a huge tax on its economy. The Indian government has to consider many interest groups before decision making. However, it should be noted that India is relatively a much younger republic when compared to other major democracies. Moreover, it is predicted that in the long run, India being a democracy will provide it an edge over non-democratic competitors like China.[better source needed]
India has had significant successes with quelling many insurgencies, most prominently the Punjab insurgency (Khalistan) and the surrender of large sections of insurgent outfits like the United Liberation Front of Asom in 1992 and National Liberation Front of Tripura in 2000-2001. However the Indian government has acknowledged that there has been a dramatic increase in support for the Maoists (Naxalite) insurgency in the last decade. Maoist rebels have increased their influence over the last 10 years, especially in regions near Nepal, particularly by targeting and gaining support from poor villages in India. The boom in support appears to have been also boosted by the successes of the nearly 10-year-old Maoist rebellion in Nepal. The maoist insurgency exploits the poor by forced conscription. India's government has recently taken a new stance on the Maoist insurgency, pulling the affected states together to coordinate their response. It says it will combine improved policing with socio-economic measures to defuse grievances that fuel the Maoist cause.
India's growth is impeded by disputes with its neighboring China and Pakistan (over historical border and ideological issues) and disputes with Bangladesh (over water availability and the Farakka Dam). Hence, India's neighbors such as China and Pakistan remain distrustful towards India. It is also occasionally burdened with instability issues within some localised-regions of the subcontinent. In an effort to reduce political tension and increase economic cooperation, in recent years, India has improved its relations with its neighbors.
Lack of international representation
India is not a permanent member of the UNSC, although currently it is one of the four-nations group actively seeking a permanent seat in the council. Thus India lacks the ability to extend its influence or ideas on international events in the way superpowers do.
See also: Economy of India § History
As of 2011, approximately 21.9% of India's population lived below poverty line. Poverty also begets child labour.