[Answered] Discuss the dilemmas faced by India in its aspirations to become a global power. How do domestic challenges and international expectations shape India’s approach?

Introduction: Give a brief context of India’s current situation.

Body: Key dilemmas faced by India.

Conclusion: Way forward

India with its vast area, large population, diverse culture, and growing economy aspires to be a global power. India’s progress can be gauged from the fact that its foreign exchange reserve has grown to around $600 billion, good relations with its neighbours and major countries barring China and Pakistan, & a stable government.

Some of the key dilemmas faced by India in its aspirations to become a global power are:

  • Low per capita income: Despite being the fifth largest economy in the world, India’s GDP per capita was $1,947 in 2021 whereas that of Bangladesh, at $2,227 shows that well well-being of the population is not completely dependent on GDP or military strength.
  • Poverty: ​With 228 million, India continues to have the biggest proportion of the world’s poor. Despite impressive growth in recent years, India suffers from income inequality. The need is to maintain a balance between economic development & inclusive growth to benefit all sections of society.
  • Infrastructure and Govenance issues: Despite being a good performer in the Ease of Doing Business Index, India continues to have poor infrastructure with governance marked by issues of red-tapism and corruption.
  • Local factors: Factors as Regional, caste, ethnic, and religious divisions run deep in Indian society. The faultlines created by these factors continue to distract the attention of its political leaders from attending to global problems.
  • Soft Power vs. Hard Power: India has a rich cultural heritage and a growing soft power influence through its Bollywood, yoga, cuisine, and ancient traditions. However, translating soft power into concrete geopolitical gains while maintaining a strong defense posture is a challenge.

What should be India’s approach to dealing with these issues?

  • Economic Growth: India should focus on sustainable economic development that addresses poverty and inequality while promoting inclusive growth. Investments in infrastructure, education, and healthcare can boost human capital and foster economic progress.
  • Pro-active Diplomacy: India must engage in proactive diplomacy to deal with issues with global ramifications. It must continue to act as the voice of the Global South. That means its diplomatic, strategic, and political investments in its neighborhood and Asia, Africa, and Latin America must increase. India’s attention to the ASEAN and Indian Ocean neighborhoods must grow.
  • Moralism: India has traditionally supported moralism in world politics. The Indian side is turning to conventional wisdom in climate negotiations as well to further the common good. India must include that moral component in future technology advancements like AI, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics.
  • Responsible Nuclear power: India should continue to pursue a responsible nuclear strategy, actively engage in international non-proliferation initiatives, and move toward disarmament while maintaining a credible deterrent.
  • Strategic autonomy: Since independence India has successfully maintained its strategic autonomy in dealing with major global issues and upholding its national interest. Whether it is USA vs. USSR, North vs. South Korea, and lately Ukraine vs. Russia, India has acted as a successful mediator in global crises and is a bridge between the North and South and East and West, indirectly indicating that it is a major ‘pole’ in world politics.


As G20 chair, India has the opportunity to set a new agenda before the world’s most powerful block of nations. India can play a proactive role in world politics and be a global voice for developing and aspiring nations.

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