India’s Role in Future

“India’s ability to be a pivotal power in Asia is contingent on the restoration of the strategic and economic unity of the subcontinent: both to its west with Pakistan and Afghanistan and to its east with Bangladesh and Burma.” Elaborate. (200 Words)

The Indian subcontinent has always been full of activity of trade and commerce with the other kingdoms, like Chinese, Mesopotamian, etc., since ancient times. In the current scenario too, India stands as the largest country, economically and politically, in the Indian subcontinent, which calls for a greater role to be played by it, to upgrade the region and become a pivotal power in Asia.
But such endeavour depends on its level of cooperation with the neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, etc. which have a huge untapped potential.
    1. Between India and Pakistan, only the Indus Sutlej treaty remains as the least controversial and least violated treaty till date. The TAPI and IPI pipelines and APTTA initiatives can be the adequate steps for both countries, to show their trust to each other and commence trade with each other. But firstly, the anti-Indian elements in Pak and Afghan regions, need to be tackled with, by a joint trilateral initiative.
    2. Also, India has proposed an Asian Highway-1 which will pass through NE east India and Myanmar, which can be a huge impetus to the trade and tourism between both countries, and also help to develop India’s NE region.
    3. With Bangladesh, the recent step of passage of LBA has reinstated faith of Bangladeshis in India, which has reduced the number of border disputes of India and can also be used to ink various other trade pacts.
    4. The SAARC forum also needs to be more active, and India being the largest country, should lead the initiative, by investing in other countries, in exchange for easier trade provisions for its traders.
Such measures will effectively help in tipping the balance of power towards India in the long run and help India in becoming a dominant Asian power in the future.
In recent years, India is trying to overcome its defensive foreign policy stance and position itself as future global power. In your opinion, what challenges especially at foreign policy level should India overcome to become global superpower? Discuss. (200 Words)
India has traditionally been a balancing power in the world. However, recent instances such as leader of International Solar Alliance, net security provider in Indian Ocean etc. suggest India now aspires for a leading power along with balancing power in the world.
Challenges that India needs to overcome to become a global superpower :
    1. Neighbours Disputes : India needs to first settle all disputes with its neighbours – Border disputes with Pakistan, Teesta river dispute with Bangladesh, Constitutional crisis in Nepal, Tamil problem with Sri Lanka etc.
    2. China’s Influence : India needs to counter China’s influence over its neighbours like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar etc.
    3. Organisations’ membership : India needs to be the member of important international institutions like UNSC permanent seat, Nuclear Supplier Group etc.
    4. Cooperation with P5+1 : Main challenge before India’s Foreign Policy is to maintain friendly relations with all P5+1 members – US, Russia, China, UK, France & Germany.
    5. Socio-developmental : India needs to alter its image as the home of world’s highest number of poor, needs to drastically improve its Human development Index rank.
    6. Economic : India also needs to be self-reliant in Space & defence technology, needs long term energy security.
    7. Security : India needs to guard its border (land, air & maritime) effectively against all state & non-state challenges.
    8. Infrastructure: Falling short of expectations specially in infrastructure projects in neighbourhood like hydropower projects in Nepal, connectivity projects in North East and Look East. Fast tracking must be done.
    9. Define National Interest: to form consensus over what exactly is our national interest and evolve a comprehensive National Security Strategy. Debates are required and a clear command structure is necessary.
    10. Project strategic independence: Too heavy influence on our stance due to heavy weights like US in Iran nuclear issue, USSR in Tashkent agreement and Shimla Agreement. So we must be seen as taking independent stand even if we are allying with any power.
    11. We have to identify multiple objectives and sectoral allies like we are closer to China on economic front, US on defence front and Middle east on energy security front and so engage accordingly. Various existing and emerging complementarities need to be explored and leveraged like our demographic dividend and the ageing population in the West.
    12. Many of our initiatives and groupings are not realising their potential like SAARC being held back due to one member. So here we can diversify ourselves to other organisations like prefer BISMTEC over SAARC.
    13. Often India is seen as Big Brother in the region, so we must change such image and act as Elder Brother as per Gujral Doctrine.
Notably, India’s Foreign, Economic & various other policies have potential to overcome all above challenges & become a global super power.



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