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Does India need to be a Superpower at all? An economic comparison of China & India.

There’s no reason why India shouldn’t achieve double-digit annual growth rates and join China as an Asian Superpower.  Whilst India has the resources and the population to become an Economic Superpower they have some serious internal problems that will hinder them becoming a global superpower in the near future. India continues to struggle with poverty, sexism, internal bureaucracy, corruption and regional power struggles. And so perhaps the question needs to be "Does India need to be a Superpower at all?”, whilst it is still dealing with its numerous domestic issues.



However for the scope of this article we will only consider in what economic areas could India catch up to China in the next few years? The following chart breaks it down using data from the latest Global Competitiveness Report.



1. Market size

As it currently stands, India is already a superpower when it comes to internal demand. According to the Global Competitiveness Report, India has the third largest market size – behind China and the US, but ahead of other regional economic powers such as Germany, Japan and Brazil.



But India does have some catching up to do if it wants to surpass China and the US. Both countries have a GDP, measured according to purchasing power parity, of about $18 trillion. India’s, at $7.4 trillion, is still much smaller.



That said, India’s growth rates will almost certainly surpass China’s this year. With an expected growth of 7.5% this year, India is, for the first time, leading the World Bank’s growth chart of major economies.



2. Financial market development

India and China are also close contenders when it comes to their financial market development, coming in at 51st and 54th place respectively in the Global Competitiveness Report rankings.



Both countries have been making great progress in recent years in the availability of venture capital. For example, both China and India have doubled their share in global venture capital in recent years: China jumped from an average of 9% before 2014, to 18% in 2014; India progressed from 3% to 6% in the same period of time.



Both India and China have also seen their stock market capitalization increase dramatically in the last decade (source: World Bank). India’s stock market tripled in size from 2002 to 2012, China’s almost quintupled, and has more than doubled in the last three years.



In June, total Chinese stock market capitalization stood at some $10 trillion, making the Chinese stock markets the second largest in the world, behind only the US. And it overtook India, historically one of the hottest stock markets in the emerging world, with its market cap to GDP ratio.



But as recent news reports have shown, there’s been volatility in the Chinese stock market, with the SSE Composite Index in Shanghai losing almost 40% since June. Meanwhile, India’s star index in Mumbai, has been more stable over the same period.



3. Health, education and work

In other key competitiveness rankings, such as health, education and the labour market, India falls far behind China. In fact, in many areas, it even falls near the bottom of global rankings.



In health and primary education, for example, India comes in at 98th of 144 economies, whereas China sits in 46th place. In higher education, India stands at 93rd, with China ahead in 65th. And in terms of labour market efficiency, India does not even make it into the top 100: it stands at 112th out of 144 measured economies; China finishes 37th.



This performance shows that merely surpassing China in economic growth won’t make India a superpower; it must also ensure its growth is inclusive.



While income distribution and GDP growth indicators in India and China are neck and neck, most of the other numbers suggest China is doing a much better job of taking care of its population of more than 1 billion people. More of China’s populace is getting educated, more Chinese citizens are covered by healthcare and the country has a much larger middle class.



In India large numbers of people do not have access to the basic necessities of life. There are almost half-a-billion people living in poverty: most of them are homeless, disease-stricken and in stuck in vicious circle of poverty. Thousands of people die due to the lack of basic nutrition. Life expectancy at birth is very low and infant mortality is high. Crimes are on the rise: murders, rapes, financial cons, human trafficking etc. Corruption is at all time high. Millions of Indians are still illiterate and the education system that is in place is not really effective. Thus results in large amount of unemployment.




Whilst there has been a lot of progress in the recent years there is still long way to go for India. Economic and military might is not going to solve its domestic problems. Though these factors are important in asserting Indians growing global position, it`s focus must remain firmly on human development issues



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