75 Years Of Progressive India
The 75 years of free India are replete with stupendous achievements. Over the years, India has become a champion for the rights of oppressed people at the international fora while discharging its obligations as a responsible international actor and a voice of reason. In the last few decades, India has engineered Green, Yellow and White Revolutions with continuous upgradation in technology in the agricultural and food-processing areas not only to meet demand of a burgeoning population but has also emerged as a net exporter and helper to the world. Self-sufficiency across the economic spectrum has been major quest but in recent times a newly crafted holistic approach of Atmanirbhar Bharat with a global foot print will lead our knowledge economy to be an integral part of global value and supply chains that have been under stress during the Covid pandemic and the Eurasian war. Hence, dependable options with ‘Indovation’ are being created. India has also emerged as credible nuclear and space power in the world – the tools it intends to employ for the global good.
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, while speaking at the inaugural of curtain raiser activities of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, reiterated and reaffirmed that “We are proud of our Constitution. We are proud of our democratic traditions. The mother of democracy, India is still moving forward by strengthening democracy. India, rich in knowledge and science, is leaving its mark from Mars to the Moon. Today, the strength of the Indian Army is immense and economically also, we are progressing fast. Today, India’s startup ecosystem has become a centre of attraction in the world, is a matter of discussion. Today, India’s potential and talent are echoed on every platform in the world. Today, India is moving out of the darkness of scarcity to meet the aspirations of more than 130 crore people.”
India will soon have the largest young and aspirational population, with the second-largest market and the fastest-growing market economy catering to the needs of teeming billion-plus people who take pride in the Indian story. This is what gives India the strategic advantage and a negotiating leverage on the international stage in times to come.
India embarked on large scale economic reforms in 1991 with the troika objectives of economic liberalisation, reforms and globalisation where it had its own interest in mind. But reforms are an ongoing process and necessary to make the country as an attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
As a result of umpteen initiatives by the present government, hundreds of archaic laws have been dispensed with. India’s global ranking for Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) has moved up several places, even as more needs to be done. India has become a favourite investment destination, garnering the highest-ever FDI of US $64 billion (an increase of 27 per cent over 2019) and even surpassing that in 2021-22 to $87 billion despite the pandemic. With a share of around 25%, the computer software and hardware industry has become the top recipient of FDI equity inflows, indicating that India figures prominently for investors as the AI-driven Fourth Industrial Revolution moves to a higher orbit. India’s fast growth in billionaire unicorns globally adds to its appeal. Moreover, given the Indian policy framework and ‘Make in India’ and Performance-Linked Initiative (PLI) schemes the FDI equity inflows in manufacturing rose by 76 per cent in FY 2021-22. It is remarkable and a testament to Indian economic and political resilience.
Likewise, for the first time Indian exports of goods and services reached new heights, despite the global problems and supply constraints due to the pandemic and the ongoing Eurasian war. India has always been a trading nation and is working hard to reclaim that status yet again. Along with this, India is also focusing on self-reliance with a global footprint ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, especially in manufacturing sector.
In this context, India’s participation in the I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE and US), QUAD (US, Australia, Japan and India), Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and other regional and sub regional economically and connectivity oriented frameworks acquires a renewed salience and focus. Likewise, vigorous move to expeditiously implement INSTC (International North South Transport Corridor), strategic connectivity projects like Chabahar in Iran to Afghanistan to Central Asia and Europe or North Eastern India to ASEAN corridors or for that matter Chennai to Vladivostok are regaining crucial linkages for India’s centrality in global supply chains.
The innovation story
As India wishes to lead through the AI-driven Industrial revolution 4.0 its Digital India, Innovate India, Start-Up and Stand-Up India campaigns have become the hallmark of a unique digital footprint. Some initiatives like the access to internet and banking at the door step and direct payment into accounts to nearly a billion Indians are the game changer and are providing the leadership position to India in the comity of nations. PM Modi recently speaking at the inaugural of first bullion exchange claimed that India accounts for 40 per cent of global digital payments.
India’s foreign policy has become more robust and confident with impeccable credentials as she pursues a value and principles-based foreign policy clearly driven by strategic autonomy to subserve her own national interests that are aligned with the global welfare. India at the UNSC no longer pleads for a place on the horseshoe table but claims it on the basis of her credentials. She is on the forefront of fight against Climate Change.
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) or ‘One Planet One Health’ are the initiatives that India has launched with and for the global community as it has emerged as a first responder in crisis situations from natural disasters to the pandemic. India navigates her foreign and security policy with dignity and confidence as she engages with diverse partners across various groupings like the QUAD, BRICS, SCO, G20 and IPEF. Her neighborhood first, Act East and Link West and Africa for Africans policies provide her the effective fulcrum for mutually beneficial partnerships.
India’s capacity building assistance under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) to over 160 countries and supply of essential medicines, medical supplies and deputing professionals and paramedics and ‘Vaccine Maitri’ (Vaccine Friendship) during the pandemic to two-third of the world have given her the unparalleled heft as a benign and global-centric power always rising to the occasion.
As a new global order emerges out of the current churn and transition, India is all set to take up a benign leadership role during the ‘Amrit Kaal’, the next 25 years with a strong polity, stronger economy and efficient foreign policy which is robust, resilient and result-oriented.