The seven structural problems I identified in my 2008 essay remain —six in full force, the seventh marginally attenuated (for, as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s extraction of profitable ministries demonstrates, the Congress is by no means immune to blackmail by coalition partners this time around). On reflection, I would add three more problems — the disturbed neighbourhood (with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka all mired in internal conflicts of their own); the unreconciled borderlands (consider the discontent in Manipur, Nagaland, and Kashmir); and the shocking incapacity of our public institutions, as manifest in the malfunctioning of our universities, our law courts, our hospitals, and our civil services.
There are therefore 10, not seven, reasons why India will not become a superpower anytime soon. But I would call into question the ambition itself. Should not nations judge themselves by their own standards, rather than seek to participate in some kind of global 100-metre race, the winner to be judged by number of billionaires in the Forbes list or size of nuclear arsenal? Rather than seek to dominate or tower above other nations, the republic of India must seek to be less discontented and less divided within