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India Emerges as a World Superpower

Madeline Kruszczynski

Digital Editor


From once being an exploited colony under British Colonial rule, India has transformed into a global powerhouse, now one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, according to The World Bank. This era of growth, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been marked by a remarkable economic surge, aided by a transition from an agrarian-centric to a service-oriented economy. With this shift in economic makeup, India now takes a central stage in international relations, and its developing position has created ripples in the geopolitical environment as the country forms alliances and enemies. 

India’s journey to independence from British Colonial rule in 1947 signified the end of an era of immense suffering within the population of India, with an estimated 50 million lives lost between 1891 and 1920, according to Al Jazeera. This dark period of the country’s history was characterized by widespread poverty, exacerbated by British policies that more than doubled the already dire conditions. With a population ill, starving, and lacking education, India’s economic prospects were dull, especially with the colonial system of policies imposed by Britain, famously known as the “drain of wealth.”

Under Britain’s exploitative regime, India’s economic resources were systematically drained to boost financial capital for the colonizers, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and dependence on the colonizer state. However, upon its independence, an era of opportunity began and in recent years the country has fiercely taken the spotlight for progress toward economic prosperity.

India embarked on this path to economic revitalization by implementing policies aimed at strengthening key sectors to raise the country out of poverty and global dependence. This process, as explained by the Consulate of India, outlined strategic initiatives targeting agriculture, education, and infrastructure, laying the groundwork for India’s remarkable progress as seen in the country’s economy today.

The agricultural sector witnessed significant repair, with emphasis on modernizing techniques and expanding irrigation capabilities. By introducing advanced farming technologies, India aimed to increase economic productivity and ensure food security for its population. The government also invested in education, particularly in developing fields like engineering and space exploration. A project that came about through this government investment is the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) founded in 1969 and since its establishment has completed 124 spacecraft missions as reports Indian Express.

Most notably, India rapidly underwent infrastructure development, as documented by the Association of Asian Studies, which had a pivotal role and lasting impact on its economic regrowth. Specialized focus on the production of machinery and steel strengthened the nation’s industrial capabilities. This emphasis on infrastructure development laid the foundation for India’s emergence as a service powerhouse, fueling its economic expansion and its growing global presence.

The growth of India’s economy is evident in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), composition with the service sector emerging as the most dominant force. According to Statista,  services constitute approximately 49 percent of India’s GDP, surpassing agriculture, and industry. This transition reflects India’s transition from an agrarian to a service-oriented economy, which came about through reforms targeting advancements in machinery and education to support other service-based industries. 

Currently, India has a thriving Information Technology (IT) sector, which accounts for approximately 10 percent of the country’s GDP. India is known for its high-quality service of information technology outsourcing capabilities. This is reflected in the country’s revenue, with $178 billion being brought in through export revenue for this service. This sector has not only become a foundation of India’s economy but also a global hub for IT services, solidifying India’s position in global affairs. According to Harvard Business Review, as tensions escalate between China and the United States, the significance of the relationship between India and the U.S., particularly in technological advancement, becomes increasingly important. This symbiotic partnership sees India benefiting from access to cutting-edge technologies created in the United States, while the U.S. gains access into the vast pool of IT professionals, comprising the largest network globally, within India.

From a more domestic lens, the economic growth of India expanded its independent global influence. Despite entering the development race later than global powers like the United States and the United Kingdom, India swiftly rose to prominence on the world stage. A component in bridging this gap was the establishment of BRICS, a coalition comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, united in their mission to counterbalance the political and economic influence of wealthier and more established Western European and North American nations, according to BBC News

Although India is formally a member of the BRICS nations, the country’s alliances are more complicated. According to the German Marshall Fund of the United States, India’s evolving geopolitical stance has recently quietly critiqued Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, while simmering border tensions with China have pushed India closer to Western powers. This diplomatic indecision reflects the complexity of a nation navigating its alliances in a  complex global landscape. Despite these nuanced relationships, India’s status as a global power remains steadfast, highlighted by its continuous economic growth trajectory. As India’s economic growth seems to show no signs of stopping, its interactions with other nations are imminently set to reshape international diplomacy for years to come. 

Image courtesy of Getty Images

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