The strength of a nation today lies in showcasing their talents on the Olympics turf. A nation’s global sporting performance makes it as big or small in the eyes of international community as their medals tally.
India’s rank (55) among the 79 nations that got at least one medal is certainly not enviable for a nation of more than a billion population with the ambition to emerge as a rival power against China.
However, Olympics 2012 has motivated the nation enough to aim for 25 medals in Olympics 2020. On August 16, 2012, India’s sports minister made this ambitious goal while felicitating India’s Olympics medalists.
While India may not have achieved a global rank to take note of, they certainly made a 300 percent improvement with the total medal tally of six over their last performance in Beijing which in itself is a reason enough for the Indians to rejoice.
Whether or not India emerges a Olympics superpower, there’s currently an ongoing debate in media on India’s potential to emerge as a global superpower. Media sources like Newsweek and NYT have joined the academics on the issue of India’s growing stature.
However, a prominent India scholar Ram Chandra in a BBC Report claims not only that India will not emerge a superpower but also recommends that India should not attempt to become a super power.
Mr. Guha sites seven challenges which will hold India back from becoming a superpower. These are internal insurgency, the Hindu right wing, increasing gap between the rich and the poor, trivialization of media, degradation of the politics apart from “the sustainability of "present patterns of resource consumption" and the instability and policy incoherence caused by multi-party governments.”
Mr. Guha writes: “In my view, international relations cannot be made analogous to a competitive examination. The question is not who comes first or second or third, whether judged in terms of Gross National Product, number of billionaires in the Forbes or Fortune lists, number of Olympic gold medals won, size of largest aircraft carrier operated, or power of most deadly nuclear weapon owned.
“We should judge ourselves not against the achievements, real or imagined, of other countries, but in the light of our own norms and ideals... We are a unique nation, unique for refusing to reduce Indian-ness to a single language, religion, or ideology, unique in affirming and celebrating the staggering diversity found within our borders (and beyond them).”