Think Again: India’s Rise

Sumit Ganguly in Foreign Policy:

ScreenHunter_02 Jul. 11 10.54On foreign policy, India has shown growing global aspirations — and capabilities. It is the fifth-largest player in the reconstruction of war-ravaged Afghanistan, and its reach extends well beyond its neighborhood. At the recent G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged $20 billion to an endowment designed to shore up the IMF's lending capacity.

Unfortunately, the fascination with India's growing economic clout and foreign-policy overtures has glossed over its institutional limits, the many quirks of its political culture, and the significant economic and social challenges it faces. To cite but one example, at least 30 percent of Indian agricultural produce spoils because the country has failed to develop a viable supply chain. Foreign investors could alleviate, if not solve, that problem. But thanks to the intransigence of a small number of political parties and organized interest groups, India has refused to open its markets to outsiders. Until India can meet basic challenges like this, its greatness will remain a matter of rhetoric, not fact.

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