Dilemmas of India’s Great Power Ambitions

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July 27, 2023

What is the issue?

Even though domestic inabilities will continue to moderate New Delhi’s ability to influence the world order, being unwilling to be a ‘global rule shaper’ would be a strategic blunder.

Why India should be a global power?

  • India’s relation with International nations- India has maintained good relationship with global powers.
    • Russia- Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation since 1971, and it is a strategic defence partner to India.
    • US- India signed three military agreements over logistics, military intelligence and secure communication.
  • India’s relation with neighbourhood countries- India need to maintain strategic defense in all its borders.
    • Nuclear countries- China and Pakistan close to its borders.
    • India is sandwiched between Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran) and Golden Triangle (Laos. Myanmar, Thailand)
  • Indian Economy- It is world’s 5th largest economy, where the nominal GDP could soon touch 4 trillion dollar.
    • Foreign exchange reserve has grown to around $600 billion, FDI inflows in India is consistently increasing from 2015-16, with highest share from Mauritius in FY2022-23.
  • Defence- It is one of the largest militaries in the world with over a hundred nuclear weapons.
    • As per SIPRI report 2022, India ranks 4th in global military expenditure.
  • Geopolitical significance
    • QUAD- It is a quadrilateral security dialogue between India, USA, Japan and Australia to contain China.
    • Peace talks- India is believed to mediate talks between Russia and Ukraine to end war.
  • G20 Presidency- With the theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future” it is striving for inclusive, action-oriented, ambitious agenda.
  • Dynamic foreign policy- India stands with the motto “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which means “the world is family”.
  • Health-
    • Vaccine diplomacy- Around 71 countries received vaccines during COVID pandemic.
    • Pharmacy of the world- India stands 1st in the supply of low cost generics, vaccines and affordable HIV medicines

Why India should focus on governance?

  • Poverty- As per Niti Aayog’s Multidimensional Poverty Index 2023, 1 in 7 Indians are multidimensionally poor due to marginal improvement in indicators like nutrition and access to education.
  • Per Capita Income- India’s GDP per capita was 1,947 dollars in 2021 whereas Bangladesh GDP per capita was 2,227 dollars.
    • Bangladesh is 40th largest military spending in the world it focus more on the wellbeing of the citizens.
  • Poor skill deficit- India has the largest demographic dividend but it accounts for only 10% formal sector.
  • Infrastructural deficit- India still lacks connectivity and infrastructure growth in rural and remote areas.
  • Governance issues-There are issues of corruption, red tapism which poses a major challenge as bureaucratic hurdle.
    • As per Corruption perception index 2022, India ranks 85 among 180 countries.
  • Domestic challenges- Regionalism, caste conflicts, ethnicity related issues still plague India’s internal security
  • Unemployment- The strategic shift from agriculture to service sector leads to jobless growth in India.
  • Gender inequality- India ranks 135 out of 146 countries as per Global Gender Gap Index 2022.

What lies ahead?

  • Embrace power- India should influence and shape the global order to meet its foreign policy objectives which would have significant impact on its growth and security.
  • Climate Change- As developed countries show less interest in financing developing countries, India should voice the concern of Global South countries.
  • Job creation- India should open up avenues for skill development and foster employment opportunities.
    • Schemes like PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana should be used optimally to utilise its potential.
  • Gender Sensitisation- There is a need to inculcate the values of gender equality through gender awareness program, increase labour force participation rate.



  1. The Hindu| India’s great power ambition
  2. Indian Express| vaccine diplomacy
  3. Invest India| FDI into India
  4. Niti Aayog| National MPI
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