India: Geopolitical Profile
India (officially the Republic of India) is a country in Southern Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Pakistan and Afghanistan; with China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar to the north east and east. Sri-Lanka is to the South. It is the seventh-largest country by area, and the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people. It is often called the most populous democracy in the world. It is a Rimland country. It has a predominantly Continentalist geopolitical orientation.
Position on the geopolitical map:
Rimland. Now predominantly Continentalist geopolitical orientation.
70% - Eurasianist, 30% Atlanticist.
Main geopolitical allies:
Russia, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, China, (despite some disputes and power contests), Sri-Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh.
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China ( in some zones)
The USA, Continental Europe (changing balance), Africa, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Oceania
Sphere of national interest.:
Southern Asia and Afghanistan, Indo-China, Indian Ocean, Himalayan region (Nepal and Butan).
• Contest for leadership with China in Indo-China, Himalayan and Indian Ocean regions
• Contest for leadership with Saudi Arabia on Maldives
• Manifested interests in Afghanistan, participation in the Afghan peace settlement
• Unresolved conflict with Pakistan. Pakistan occupies the northern part of the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir.
• Territorial dispute with China in Arunachal Pradesh (administered by India, but clamed by China) and Achsai Chin (administered by China, but clamed by India).
Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000) India is a home to hundreds of ethnos and tribes, mostly divided into two main groups – Indo-Arian and Dravidian.
Hindu 79.8%, Muslim 14.2%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.7%, other and unspecified 2%
India is called the most populous democracy in the world. Since gaining independence, the Indian political model has copied the European one. The secular nationalist Indian National Congress party dominated political life and ruled the country for decades since independence was declared in 1947.
Things began to change when current Prime-Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party’s came to power in 2014. The Hindutva ideology became more influential in Indian political life. It does not change the western post-colonial forms of statehood, but changes the inner dimensions of the political sphere – ideology.
Unlike the Indian National Congress, the orientation of the Bharatiya Janata Party is based on a perspective of the historical identity of India. It’s political ideology is based on the promotion and preservation of traditional Hindu religious identity (Hindutva).
Hindutva is founded on religion, defense of traditional values and culture, and rejection of western globalism. It has both ideological and geopolitical dimensions, which are closely interconnected. The first in is defense of Indian uniqueness, is its culture and traditional religions that are believed to be the basis of identity. Western and Muslim influence is claimed to be dangerous for Indians. Support for social justice coincides with the support of traditional Hindu values and social structures, including a reformed caste system.
The geopolitical dimension of Hindutva means the creation of a Great Space (Grossraum) in South Asia which includes India, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and a projection of power towards South Asian countries, who have been greatly influenced by Indian culture and religious traditions in the past.
India is a second world country - The state of semi-periphery. It is part of the BRICS bloc.
The economy of India is the seventh-largest in the world by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). The IMF classifies the country as a newly industrialised country. It is one of the G-20 major economies, a member of BRICS and a developing economy with an average growth rate of approximately 7% over the last two decades.
Indian economic policy after independence was influenced by the colonial experience, which was seen by Indian leaders as exploitative, with the leaders being exposed to British social democracy as well as the planned economy of the Soviet Union. Domestic policy tended to motion towards protectionism, with a strong emphasis on import substitution, industrialisation, economic interventionism, a large government-run public sector, business regulation, and central planning.
After 1992 there was a tendency of economic liberalisation, with privatization of state industries and more free market policies.
India has capitalised its economy based on its large educated English-speaking population, becoming a major exporter of IT services, BPO services, and software services. It is also the fastest-growing part of the economy.
Main security threats:
• Unresolved conflict with Pakistan in Kashmir region.
• Radicalization of the Indian Muslim community and Muslim terrorism.
• Export of Muslim radicalism from Pakistan and Bangladesh
• Other religion based extremism, including Sikh and Hindu
• Regional separatism in Sikh regions (predominantly in Panjab).
• The vulnerable geostrategic positions of the Northeastern part of India, narrowly connected with mainland India via a corridor, which squeezes between the independent nations of Bhutan and Bangladesh. There is regional and ethic separatism in the States of Tripura, Assam, West Bengal (Gurkhas), and Nagaland. It is a site of separatist movements among the tribal population, who speak languages related to Tibeto-Burman. This region historically was last united with another part of British India and differs from other parts of India ethnically. It is also a lesser-developed part of the country.
• Naxalism - activity of the of the Communist guerrilla groups in the Eastern India, mostly associated with the Communist Party of India (Maoist)
• Contest with China for regional leadership in Nepal, Sri-Lanka, Indian Ocean and South-East Asia.
India is not only a country, a national state, but also one of the world’s largest civilizations. India is home to a set of native religious and philosophical traditions. Part of them is united under the umbrella of “Hinduism” (the term itself is Westarn construction). Other Indian religious traditions are Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. All these religious traditions also termed as Dharmic faiths, and are rooted in the merger between Vedic religion of Ancient India and Dravidian cults. Indian traditions are oriented more towards contemplative, mystic and metaphysical dimensions. It is a deep base of Indian identity that has influenced other religions, transforming them on Indian soil, for example Muslim Sufi tradition.
Also, with 138 million Muslims, it is the second largest Muslim country in the world.
Another important part on the traditional Indian system of values is the hierarchy of the castes, basing it on social order.
Traditional values are dominant in villages and small towns. In big cities the set of values is more liberal and secular.