India has a unique combination of being both a land power and airpower, making it unique from the other countries. Some believe that India could be one of the most powerful nations on earth had it become a super-power after World War II.
It could well have exceeded Russia in terms of military might and economic might if it had not been for the two nuclear wars that resulted in at least 65 million people’s deaths and left much of Asia fighting with itself for more than a decade. Several other factors make India one of the most likely candidates for becoming a super-power after WWII.
India Becomes a Super Power After World War II
What would have happened had it become a super-power. Under the leadership of Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri, the central government of India would have taken control of almost all of South Asia. It would have dominated the Indian subcontinent, Greater India, and even parts of Southeast Asia. They would have been the most dominant force on the planet. The individual countries of South Asia would have become vassal states of the central government, except Pakistan, which would remain a British protectorate until 1947.
In the context of a super-power, they would have controlled the movement of people, goods, information, and ideas. The central government of India planned to go beyond mere control and help develop the economy and create jobs. This is because the majority of the people in South Asia, especially the poor, needed jobs to escape the vicious circle of poverty.
The central government of India also wanted to help its weaker neighbor, Pakistan, achieve self-sufficiency in food grains because the poor people of both countries needed food grains to survive. The central government of India also helped the subcontinent achieve universal primary education because the majority of the populace needed to be able to read and write. The central government of India also wanted to help protect its nationals worldwide. Therefore, it established diplomatic corps worldwide to strengthen ties with other superpowers.
India Dominates South Asia
You will notice that most of the articles and posts here are focused on what would happen if India became a superpower after World War II. If you take away the superpowers that came after World War II, India stands out as one of the most dominant nations in South Asia. This is because of its dominance over the entire subcontinent and its influence on education, economics, culture, and society.
However, India did not become a super-power overnight. The country experienced several lean decades during the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century, which significantly impacted its development. It took time for it to achieve its current stature as one of the most powerful nations in the world.
India Uses its Wealth to Develop Infrastructure
The government of India has a strategy of building roads, airports, power grids, power stations, and so on across the entire country. The government of India also plans to invest even more money to build a favorable environment for business and create jobs.
India Improves its Military
The Indian government, after World War II, tried to improve the country’s military. Since its independence from Britain, the military had been kept intact but was slowly being cut back. It was put to an end after the war when the government decided to bolster the military’s infrastructure. Therefore, the Indian military was modernized and given more equipment to combat China, Pakistan, and others.
India’s Growing Economy
The Indian economy recently has seen rapid growth in its services sector. Services make up two-thirds of the Indian economy and account for almost 70% of employment, contributing more than half of India’s GDP and employing more than one-third of the workforce. This growth has come from domestic demand and the need for more skilled, educated, and experienced workforces. India now has more doctors, engineers, and other professionals than last decade.
The Rise of ASEAN
The international situation to change dramatically with the end of the cold war. A new group of countries, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AASEP), was formed out of the former British colonies of Southeast Asia. The region had been under British colonial rule for almost two centuries and was considered a given part of the empire by many. During that period, the area never became a separate nation because there was no demand for such a thing.
Instead, the British referred to the area as “part of their empire.” With the end of British rule, there was no sense for the ASEAN countries to get on with their lives as independent nations. Instead, they hoped to join the British Commonwealth or become Liechtenstein-style puppet states of the German colossus. But this aspiration was put on hold after the Second World War when the Allies wanted to give the region’s peoples a fresh start.
The Indian Subcontinent Becomes the New Middle East
The Indian subcontinent would have become the new Middle East after World War II, mainly owing toIndia’s partition and the creation of the newly independent nations of India and Pakistan.
While the partition created substantial political and religious divisions within the Indian subcontinent, it also served as a springboard for creating two new superpowers – Pakistan and India. With the partition of India, the British Empire’s Indian possessions became independent countries – former British India, the former princely states, and the former territories under British rule.
There was a notable lack of planning and coordination involved in the partitioning and creation of the newly independent nations, which led to tensions and disputes for the next decades. The division of assets was further upset when the Simla Agreement of 1950 carved up the former British Indian Empire into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.
India’s Rule Over the South China Sea and Maritime Empires
During the Second World War, the Allied powers also looked at Southeast Asia and the South China Sea, which they referred to as the “key to the Pacific.” Southeast Asia was considered crucial because it was the gateway to the Indian subcontinent and the Far East. The island chains of Southeast Asia, together with Australia, were thus vital to the Allies’ future.
The creation of the South China Sea Battlefields Commission in 1944 under the League of Nations marked the 75th anniversary of the First World War helped add to the nostalgia among the Allies for the European Centenary. The Allied powers failed to stop the Japanese from the capture of the Philippines, Indochina, and Malaya. They also allowed Japan to install a puppet government in the Dutch East Indies under Japanese control. The Netherlands gave up its colony in the South China Sea in 1946.
The disintegration of the Soviet Union lead to India’s rise as a big country.
This has been one of the most talked-about topics of the year. As many as six countries competing to be the next super-power, according to a survey, are Russia, China, the US, Germany, and India.
In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union disintegrated, and with it went the iron curtain that divided Europe and Asia. With the Cold War now over and both the Soviet and Eastern European empires lying in ruins, the implications for the balance of power in Europe and Asia were profound. In many ways, the end of the Cold War marked the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union as a significant power.
Nonetheless, it has also been argued that without the fall of the Soviet Union, India would not have been able to take its place among the world’s most powerful nations. The country literally could not have existed without the Soviet Union. So it is fair to conclude that the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union left a considerable impact on the international scene and Indian foreign policy.
Indian Science and Technology continue to grow.
What if India became a super-power post-WW2? The list of things Indian science and technology has achieved in the last decade is almost unrivaled. More work is to be done, but this is a great start. And it’s not just about having more things – it’s about having them better. Indian space program’s first satellite was launched in 1975.
The country’s first working jet engine, the Vikramadithyan Aircraft, was test-flown in 1980. Towards the end of the decade, India became the third country after the US and Russia to put a man on the Moon. It’s not just about what we have achieved; our challenges remain as great as ever. The threats that we face today will remain the same or even grow. Some of them will be external – like radicalization and the growth of terrorism.
Some will be within our borders, like corruption and apathy. And some will be related to technology, like our inability to fight cyber threats effectively. But all these challenges can be overcome if we have the will to do so. And that’s what we must continue to believe in – together, as a nation, and as an inseparable family.
India has many treasures like spices, culture, and beliefs, but its competent people are most noteworthy 🙂