Why 2023 Might Be India’s Most Defining Year In Decades
2023 will be a year where India will play a pivotal role in reshaping the Indian subcontinent.
As we usher in the New Year, let’s take a moment to realise how significant 2023 will be for India. By all parameters, India could define its future role and position in Asia, and the world.
Firstly, there is the G20 summit. A former (and may I add disgruntled) finance minister has said India was the second chair in 1999, so why the hullabaloo.
Well, apart from the sea-change that the G20 format has undergone (it has been raised to the summit level in 2008), India itself has grown exponentially, politically, economically, technologically.
G20 summit represents India’s ability to successfully navigate global political headwinds and start a discourse on pressing global issues.
At the summit level, any declaration/joint commitments regarding climate and sustainability will see India play a major role.
New Delhi will present an alternative to the developed countries’ view who have been major polluters in the past and after lifting their countries from poverty are now preaching developing nations.
New Delhi’s ability to speak on behalf of developing nations on a pivotal issue like climate change will help navigate other countries in meeting the twin challenges of growth and sustainability.
Second, 2023 will be an important year for the Indian economy. It is poised to be the fastest growing economy in the world.
India is the world’s fifth largest economy, and will be one of the primary growth engines. It is expected to grow at 6 per cent in the next financial year (FY24).
Though the growth is lower than the current fiscal year’s (FY23) growth at 6.8 per cent, it is in sharp contrast to the bleak forecast of the top two economies, America and China, besides the European Union.
China, India’s primary economic and geo-political rival, is currently under siege by soaring Covid infections.
It is unfortunate that the country, which was kept under heavy and draconian lockdown measures for three years, will open up completely next week when case load is very high.
In such a scenario, China’s economic activity will remain subdued.
It will give a fresh fillip to the trend of global corporations looking to reduce their dependence on China’s supply lines.
India can, and must take full advantage of this trend.
Let 2023 be the year when ‘Make in India’ realises its full potential. The government must announce three-four manufacturing zones with complete connectivity and tax holidays.
For too long, India has been chasing export-oriented manufacturing growth, it’s time to make it happen. Conditions are ripe, with the right policy framework, 2023 could redefine the landscape of the Indian economy.
Third, this year India is set to create milestones in its space programme. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has announced that Chandrayaan 3, its third mission to the moon will be launched in June this year.
Our maiden attempt to land a rover on the moon did not succeed after the Vikram lander on board Chandrayaan-2 mission crashed on the surface of the moon in September 2019.
The mission will help in future inter-planetary explorations. Then, there is Gaganyaan, the human spaceflight.
Preparations seem to be progressing well for the first un-crewed flight which will set the ball rolling for flying humans in the orbit. If these two programmes succeed, it will make India a space super power and join the elite club select countries to have similar space programmes.
Fourth, 2023 will be a year where India will play a pivotal role in reshaping the Indian subcontinent.
Witnessing deep economic turmoil, Pakistan's woes will worsen as its chief benefactor China's economy slows down. Add political flux to Pakistan's financial mess and what one gets is a recipe for disaster (read national security concerns related to terrorism).
India's role and position in ensuring a concerted global stand on terrorism will define the future of Pakistan and the larger region.
Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will also go to polls in 2023, and as China firms up its position in the Indo Pacific, India will seek to claw back some of its lost hold in the polity of these countries.
India will want to use the elections as an opportunity to arrest China's growing naval presence and overarching economic role in Dhaka and Colombo.
By all counts, 2023 promises to be India's year. Let's hope the nine state elections including crucial ones like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan don't result in an extremely divided polity which will derail India's trajectory.
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