Wednesday, May 2, 2012

India's Expansion

 The world is a stage, and while China and the U.S. are charismatic performers that dominate the stage, India is the lighting technician. All right, maybe that was a poor analogy, but it conveys India’s current position: important but vastly under-appreciated. Maybe not for long though.
            With a major part of the population that continues to live in squalor, India has always—at least subconsciously—been classified as a sub-developed country. Yet, in recent years, it has surged ahead and may lie poised at the brink of becoming one of the world’s leading powers.
India's rapid expansion could lead to benefits for
its people, many of whom live in squalor
            First comes money. With $4.463 trillion in purchasing power in GDP, India is fourth total in the world and with an annual growth of about .3 trillion, looks to continue its rise through the ranks. Second come guns. While still outpaced by global counterparts Russia, China, and the United States, India continues to heavily prioritize its military industry, funding it with 24.88 billion dollars annually by 2010 which incorporates 1.33 million in active-duty military, 4,117 tanks, 16 submarines and 691 combat aircraft. Not only this, but it is one of the few countries that has developed nuclear weaponry, and just a few weeks ago, proved that it has the ballistic capabilities to use it, through the successful launch of the Agni-V missile.
The Agni-V missile showed India's capability
to hit China with a nuclear missile
            More important than any of these carefully nurtured domestic aspects, however, is the political thought that is sweeping over the nation. Recent elections have shown a shift in perspective that has effectively ousted the ruling Congress Party from the assembly, leaving them with only 28 seats, while the others are occupied by regional caste-based representatives. This surge of nationalism demonstrates an internal resolve that will be essential for India to maintain and refine if they want to become a more prominent global figure—something that can’t be obtained through per capita GDP and nuclear missile count alone.
            Looking at all this, it’s easy to see potential, but where is the follow through if they have been in such a position for several decades? But several factors may contribute to India’s ability to surpass Russia, China and the United States in these areas. Its first important to note a shift in the balance of India and the U.S. For the past several decades, the continuous “brain drain” has drawn the brightest of India’s economic and business circles to pursue education in America, and then remain in the States and contribute to our economy. However as the United States lays entrenched in the recession, prices rise in college, and India develops more viable secondary education options, India may be able to retain its think tank. Additionally, the continuous outsourcing of positions to India leads to their adaptation and improvement on our products, effectively allowing another country to “inherent our technology and know how” says Fareed Zakaria in his Worldview on U.S. Manufacturing. Additionally, China’s extensive growth may prove to be just as detrimental. With such rapid expansion, economists have explained it as trying to fit centuries worth of growth into three decades, a strategy that provides no viable foundation and is susceptible to collapse. Finally, Russia’s recent political scene demonstrates that it is in no position to progress economically before it resolves itself politically.
Many fear that outsourcing production may benefit
other countries more than the United States
            Sure these are a lot of “if” scenarios, but the fact that India even has this opportunity at all demonstrates the progress that they have made. Maybe not in a year, or a decade, or two decades, but as they continue to progress, on the brink of rapid expansion, there’s no doubt that India will soon get its time in the spotlight. 

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