On 6 November 2020, the Takshashila Institution hosted Dr Aparna Pande for a discussion on her new book, Making India Great: The Promise of a Reluctant Global Power. She is the Research Fellow & Director of the Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia at the Hudson Institute, based out of Washington DC.
The book is a response to her enquiry “why is India not a global power?”. It recommends strategic reforms to India’s economic, social and foreign policy to become a world leader.
The event was hosted by Pranay Kotashthane, head of Takshahila’s research team along with discussants and alumni of the GCPP program Konark Bhandari, Rupa KN and Smitha N.
Mr Konark led the discussion on what India can learn from its past. In response, Dr Aparna emphasised we must continue to upgrade our economy and military while embracing our rich and diverse past.
Ms Rupa steered the conversation towards a critical theme of human capital in the book. Dr Aparna highlighted how India must vest its limited resources in improving institutions for education and skill development.
Ms Smitha prodded her about the goal of Atmanirbharta. Dr Aparna advised against the desire of self-sufficiency and pointed out the urgent need for jobs and capital inflows for economic recovery. She also showed concerns about the lack of military and strategic planning among policymakers and identified an urgent need to upgrade training and technology of our armed forces.
Mr Pranay engaged all participants to build a framework for future reforms, balancing the effort required to carry them out with their potential impact.
Dr Aparna ended with cautioning policymakers against complacency while continuing to take inspiration from our historical achievements.
A recording of the session can be found here.