India might become global superpower: Harsh Vardhan Shringla

File photo of Harsh Vardhan Shringla

Washington: Asserting that the Indian economic juggernaut is on a roll, the country’s top envoy in the United States on Friday said that conditions are right for India to be a global superpower of the 21st century. “The Indian economic juggernaut is on the roll and conditions are right for it to be a global super-power of the 21st century,” India’s Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said in his address to the students and faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School. In his keynote address “Next Phase of India’s Growth and Development,” he said that India took nearly 60 years after independence to reach the 1 trillion mark economy.

But it has taken just 12 years since then to take it to 2.0 trillion and only five years, from 2014-2019, to take it from 2.0 trillion to 3.0 trillion. “The Prime Minister of India has set a goal of achieving the 5.0 trillion mark by 2025, and we are all working diligently to achieve that goal,” he said. “India’s growth story is based on its fundamentals. While accelerating growth, we have also achieved macro-stability, inclusive and sustainable growth. We have achieved high growth, maintaining social cohesion, democracy, and rule of law,” Shringla said. While inclusion can be the biggest failing of rapid growth across the world, he said that India has managed it remarkably well! Income Inequality has been a problem in many advanced economies, but India has managed to pull millions out of poverty ever since growth accelerated following the liberalization of the 1990s, he added.

Social Inequality in India, he said, has been addressed through affirmative action and improved opportunities for the disadvantaged groups who were systematically left behind by the travails of history. Spatial Inequality, he noted, has been dealt with by redistribution of financial resources through the Finance Commission set up once every five years and through the mechanism of centrally sponsored schemes and investment incentives for the backward areas. Asserting that India’s Constitutional democracy is exemplary, he said the country has survived and prospered while several other nation-States post the world war have fallen.

“Our Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all our citizens with an independent judiciary to enforce them. Together with growth and development India’s sociopolitical and institutional framework has promoted social cohesion and helped build a fair and equitable State that is run for, by and of the people!” he told the audience. Shringla said India would soon have the largest market base (population), and with rising per capita incomes, it will go on to be the largest market in the world. By 2030, one in two households is expected to be middle class. By then, India would also be an upper-middle-income country as per the World Bank classification.

“This essentially means, by the middle of the 21st century, India would be the largest market on earth, a country which no power would be able to ignore, and whose economy would be closely linked to product markets around the world through global value chains and to the factor markets through investment capital and skilled workforce,” he said.

Strategic and economic partnership
The bilateral relationship between India and the United States is evolving fast both in the strategic and economic domains, India’s top envoy to the US said, ahead of the 2+2 ministerial level dialogue on 18 December.”Inherent in India’s growth story is a natural partnership with the United States. This partnership is evolving fast both in strategic and economic domains,” said Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s Ambassador to the US. “Our defense procurement relationship has gone up from almost nil 15 years ago to nearly 20 billion today. India is now a major defense partner of the United States. We have signed a number of foundation agreements and our militaries exercise regularly with each other,” he said. India-US bilateral trade, he said, has been growing at 10 per cent year-on-year basis to reach $ 142 billion in 2018 and has also become more balanced, Shringla said.