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منگل، 10 اپریل، 2012

Who says India wants to be a superpower?


There has been much talk in some circles, especially in the US, which is trying to deceive India and the Indian people to think that the country is an emerging global power. The plot of the US is give this wrong impression in order to create a climate of distrust and tension between India and China. Washington thinks that such an illusion will make the Indian and government to support the pro Zionist policies of the US, and at the same time enable Israel and the US to infiltrate the country and plunder its rich natural resources, in order to fomenting internal trouble in a country that has the world's largest number of Muslims, estimated over 220 million people. We have prepared a special feature in this regard for you, which points out to the fact that India is not yet a developed country in view of the wide scale poverty, mismanagement, and lack of expertise. The feature titled "Who says India wants to be a Superpower" was written by Air Vice-Marshal Arjun Subramaniam, who is the Assistant Chief of Air Staff looking after Space, Concepts and Doctrine at Air Headquarters in New Delhi. The analysis appeared in the Chennai-based English language daily, The Hindu.
A recent report from the London School of Economics (LSE) titled “India: The Next Super Power?” — and, very surprisingly, given excessive mileage by various sections of the media — reflects a new obsession among certain global think tanks and research institutions of the need to remind India that it has a long way to go before it can join the so-called “high table.” The report posed the question in the context of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2009 visit to India when she said she considered India to be a global rather than a regional power. The question here is: Do we really need to take cognisance of preachy sermons on how “India has miles to go before it can sleep,” or would we rather be driven by Rabindranath Tagore's dream of an India “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high … Into that heaven of freedom let my country awake?” I think most Indians would still prefer the latter. So let me try and explain why this argument of India aspiring to be a superpower is both historically and contextually a “no-brainer” argument.


A superpower, according to many international relations theorists, should have the ability to both exert influence and exercise power in its areas of interest, wherever that may be across the globe. Today, that area has extended into the realms of outer space. More importantly, modern neo-realists also believe that true superpower status is reflected in a willingness to engineer regime changes to protect your own way of life or interests, or even to pursue altruistic agendas of “keeping the world a safer place to live in.” No Indian in his right mind, leave alone policymakers and strategists, could ever dream of subscribing to such fanciful ambitions. I would even go to the extent of wagering my entire savings that even if all the fissures and cracks cited by the panel of LSE experts were to be filled up in a few decades, India could never get around to becoming a superpower of the likes of the U.S. of today or the yesteryear Soviet Union, or for that matter, an emerging China.
This argument of mine has historical backing. Unlike the Greeks, Romans, Mongolians, the participants of the Crusades, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or the U.S. which had their own reasons for conquest or “expansive doctrines,” India, for centuries, was a “potpourri” of small nation states, satisfied within the boundaries of its geographical expanse, religious tolerance, cultural diversity and abundant natural/water resources. Modern India, ravaged for two centuries by colonial exploitation, is still a nation in the making, benignly looking outward in recent times, primarily to seek energy resources and develop its vast human capital. Nothing exemplifies this aspiration more than the consistent statements of the strategic establishment that all current national strategies including those relating to security would first revolve around India's progression from a developing to a fully developed nation — a tall order by any yardstick.
Let me now dwell a bit on what is called “hard power” and see how it is factored into this whole business of fingerprinting a so-called “superpower.” Capability is never equal to power unless it is backed by intent and willingness to use the power in pursuit of national interests.


The development cycle of hard power in respect of superpowers or potential superpowers usually commences with a preponderance of deterrent capabilities, re-enforced as time passes with significant coercive or offensive capabilities, until a stage is reached when this coercive capability offers prospects of widespread “compellance.” Incidentally, compellance is a term propagated by the eminent political scientist, Thomas C. Schelling, during the Cold War and is still widely discussed in the global discourse on power equations. Going by these characteristics, where does India stand in this imaginary and premature quest for superpower status?
The answer is: India's development of force projection capability has always been governed by an overarching strategic direction of responsibility, restraint, resilience and respect for sovereignty. This has meant that deterrence has always occupied pole position, with coercive and expeditionary capabilities taking a back seat. The objectives of India too have been well calibrated with our own territorial sovereignty and regional stability being more important than influencing global affairs. Some commentators look at India's interest in the Indian Ocean Region as a logical manifestation of great power yearning; little realising that this interest is primarily driven by the need to provide a deterrent umbrella to energy interests and the millions of expatriate Indian citizens who not only contribute to the economy of the region they reside in, but also to India's economy. In short, does India's hard power support the prognosis of an emerging superpower? The answer is: No way! And we should not be perturbed at all beyond the fact that maybe our deterrent capabilities need greater attention.
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Thank You For Reading.

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