By Mira Kamdar
Few would have predicted 25 years ago India’s dramatic rise as a global economic force, imagined that one day the iconic British luxury brands Range Rover and Jaguar would be purchased by an Indian company, or believed that the United States would form a strategic partnership with a staunch ally of its Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union. In 1983, India’s claim to international attention was pretty much limited to its surprise win of the Cricket World Cup in England. This was a turning point for the game, no doubt, but hardly an event that augured the birth of a world power.
Yet, on the basis of its surprise leap over the past decade onto the stage of emerging powers, many are now predicting a fantastic future for India. They see India as the tortoise to China’s hare, the second-place runner who may look like he’s far behind but who in the end will out-distance the complacent champion. Viewed through this prism, India’s democracy is supposed to confer a special advantage over China’s state-directed system, messier in the immediate term perhaps, but better able to withstand in the long run the buffeting social, political, and environmental winds of rapid economic transformation. Continue reading…