Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AEIS), leading think-tank in Vienna, organised a discussion session titled “Rising Power India” on 11/10/2022 in-association with Vienna School of International Studies in Diplomatic Academy, Vienna. Mr. Jaideep Majumdar, Ambassador of India in Vienna, Dr. Heinz Nissel, Professor Emeritus, University of Vienna and Dr. Werner Fasslabend, former Defence Minister of Austria & President of AEIS spoke on India’s growth as an emerging global power. The said conference was attended by Ambassadors from various countries in Vienna, ex-members of Austrian Parliament and eminent personalities from universities and Think Tanks based in Austria.
The Indian Ambassador highlighted India’s growth across various sectors. India’s GDP grew by more than 13% in the first two quarters of this year and is on track to expand by 7% this year. India has now overtaken UK to become the world’s fifth-largest economy and with this growth rate, India would overtake Germany by 2027 and Japan by 2029 to become the world’s third largest economy. The Ambassador emphasized on the proactive measures taken by the Government of India in various domains starting from Defence, Space, Nuclear, Information Technology etc to make India not only self-reliant but also as a global player in these areas. On diplomatic front, Ambassador underlined India’s leadership role during COVID pandemic, supplying vaccines to many countries. India has moved from non-alignment to multi-alignment. He stressed on strategic autonomy as a guiding force of India’s diplomatic efforts. He mentioned that what India does and what Indians do will be of profound importance to the rest of world in the rest of the century.
Dr. Heinz Nissel spoke on the benefits reaped by India from its demographic dividend viz., a large, well-educated middle-class. This working population would play a key part in India’s continued rise as a challenger to China on the manufacturing sector. The ageing labour force and rising pay levels in China is reducing its competitive edge and also its claim as a world’s largest market.
Dr. Werner Fasslabend, the former Defence Minister of Austria, highlighted the trajectory of growth achieved by India despite facing multiple security challenges in its neighbourhood and also the complexity of its multi-faceted cross-dimensional diversity. He underlined India’s geographical position between Middle East and South-east Asia would help India to further cement its position as an important player in the Indian ocean region. On economic front, he stated that India is in a similar position of China in 1990s but growing and moving upwards at a faster rate. Hence it is a matter another 20 years for India to emerge as a independent super power.
In the subsequent Q&A session, for a specific question on establishment of soft power relationship viz., people-to-people communications between China and India to reduce the existing friction, Ambassador pointed out that this could be possible between two democracies, which is not the case with China and people in China could hardly have any say in what the Chinese government does. Dr Heinz Nissel stressed on resolution of the border issue as a crucial element in ensuring stability of India’s relationship with China.