Growing need to fully launch India as world power

In the last 10 years, there has been a global power shift from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean and eastern powers have had a vital role and impact in the evolving world scenario. In recent times, the relationship between the United States and India has grown greatly. However, many may ask what the significance of India is to the US, especially at a time when domestic issues such as unemployment or rising energy costs are rampant.

US President Obama, during his visit to India, attended several high profile meetings. Many lauded this visit as proof that India is rising in the ranks of international power. While this may have once seemed unimaginable, his visit reflects the boundless opportunities in what he referred to as what could be “one of the defining partnerships of the century.” However, to be true global partners, the US and India must do more together. This sentiment is very powerful, it promotes the idea that India can be successful and it also validates the efforts that have brought India thus far from the days of declaration of independence.

The immense economic growth from the IT industry as well as other exports, has transformed India into an almost competitive world power. Trade between India and the US have increased to $100 billion per year. All of this progress means that in the coming years, communication and partnerships between India and the US will likely increase and that India is poised to expand its influence. Among the South Asian countries that hope for stronger democracies, India is uniquely positioned to emerge as a power and leader to others.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, on his recent visit to the US held meetings with Obama, the US Congress and other political leaders regarding a vision to enhance trade and investment, reform and launch new ventures in renewable energy and consolidate climate change programmes and drive new initiatives in education, defence and security. The relationship between these two counties will be paramount for the next generation as two of the leading powers on the world stage.

Working to improve India means that communication is of utmost importance. Most of the people that Americans will deal in India will be educated and able to speak English. However, for those of us who wish to have a more hands-on experience with Indians will need some knowledge of the regional languages and cultures. In many ways, India and the US mirror each other. Both countries represent similar democratic values with diverse societies and passions for innovation.

As one of the largest democracies in the world, India has an extraordinary “people power” and therefore, is an incredibly strong political system across national, state, and local constituencies that has fostered a culture of strong e-commerce, telecommunications, social media and endless other business ventures. As one of the most rapidly developing economies in the world, it represents boundless possibilities and opportunities, particularly for its youth.

Proper schooling is also key to improve the lives of the impoverished children. Setting up public housing projects and providing enough resources so that children may stay in school instead of working alongside their parents is a necessary measure. Fixing these problems and reducing the socioeconomic disparity is the key to improve the perception of India. Diplomatic relations and business deals that grow the country’s GDP are helpful too, but to truly have an impact, it has to be done in a fashion that will improve the world’s perception of India.

Taking these measures will in turn help make the country more appealing to others in investing, and will help further its position as a world economic power. The more stable and developed the country seems on global screen, the more attractive it will be to investors. This cycle of increased investment leading to enhanced growth and development followed by even more investment will be highly beneficial.

Similar ideals

Both India and the US were built on ideals that all men are created equal and that every human has an inherent dignity. In two countries as diverse across religion, caste, creed and orientation, these ideals are paramount. India and the US have always been bound by them.

In both nations, their diversity has proven to be the strength that unifies them more than it separates them. In such a manner, they can be world leaders to others. As India takes a more central position on the global stage, the study about India and the importance of Indian studies has never been as prominent.

As relationships between the US and India are explored more and greater opportunities in law, business, technology, and engineering develop in South Asia, an understanding of Indian culture is paramount. By better understanding linguistics, religions and customs of the subcontinent, people will be able to succeed by better empathising with them. Just as those in the East have adopted many Western traditions and customs, such as speaking English as a primary language of business, it is important now that westerners grow with the times and begin to adopt eastern traditions and understand eastern culture.

I hope people interested to see India on the forefront on a global power map, would need to work with diplomats and leaders in India and America, and together they would be able to bring about the necessary change to fully launch India as a world power and also strengthen diplomatic ties between India and the US.

(The writer, a linguist and columnist, teaches at Washington University, St Louis, USA)

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