Vienna: Envoys from various countries, ex-members of the Austrian Parliament and eminent personalities from universities and think tanks based in Austria gathered in Vienna to speak on India's growth as an emerging global power.
Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AEIS), a leading think-tank in Vienna, organised a discussion session titled "Rising Power India" on October 11 in association with the Vienna School of International Studies in Diplomatic Academy, Vienna. Jaideep Majumdar, Indian envoy in Vienna, Heinz Nissel, Professor Emeritus at the University of Vienna and Werner Fasslabend, former Defence Minister of Austria and President of AEIS spoke on India's rise as a global power.
The Indian Ambassador highlighted India's growth across various sectors. India's GDP grew by more than 13 per cent in the first two quarters of this year and is on track to expand by 7 per cent this year.
India has now overtaken the 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 the proactive measures taken by the Government of India in various domains starting from Defence, Space, Nuclear, Information Technology etc to make India self-reliant and a global player in these areas.
On the 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.
The envoy 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 the world for the rest of the century.
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 in the manufacturing sector.
The ageing labour force and rising pay levels in China are reducing its competitive edge and also its claim as the world's largest market.
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 the Middle East and Southeast Asia would help India to further cement its position as an important player in the Indian Ocean region.
On the economic front, he stated that India is in a similar position to China in the 1990s but growing and moving upwards at a faster rate. Hence it is a matter of another 20 years before India emerges as an independent superpower.
In the subsequent Q&A session, for a specific question on the establishment of a 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.
Heinz Nissel stressed the resolution of the border issue as a crucial element in ensuring the stability of India's relationship with China.