The Fourteenth Edition of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest
Wednesday, October 25th to Sunday, October 29th 2023


Online : 25 - 26 Oct
On ground : 27 - 29 Oct


  • Friday, 27th Oct
  • 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm IST
  • NCPA, Tata Theatre

For The Motion: R Jagannathan, Tuhin A Sinha
Against The Motion: Nilakantan RS, Praveen Chakravarty
Chair: Govindraj Ethiraj

India is already an acknowledged emerging power.

It is a great contemporary military power on multiple indices from the
strength of its armed forces to the size of its defence budget. As a member of almost every important global grouping, its opinion is sought in the creation of international treaties and agreements. It is amongst the fastest growing economies and will soon be one of the largest economies as well. Investors are queueing up for a stake in the India growth story. Infrastructure development has been rapid and it is home to a vast talent pool of professional, skilled and unskilled labour. India has made significant strides in science, research, and innovation as the successful space program indicates and the world-wide recognition of its films, music, handicrafts and cuisine have enhanced its soft power. India’s pharmaceutical industry is the primary source of high-quality, yet affordable medications for many developing countries.

But under the shiny surface there’s a web of cracks. The military strength conceals a massive shortage of officers and supplies and a failure to adequately modernise. The benefits of the burgeoning economy are not equally distributed and a small number of Indians are amassing disproportionate wealth. Inequality is rising, infrastructure development has been patchy, public access to medical services has not kept up with population growth, nor has employment. And while India has had success with the space program it still lags behind on investments in research and development, and innovation.

In defending the statement, the proposition is defending the idea that India has already taken all the steps to become the next superpower and, with the exception of acts of God, will be the next nation to take on the position of superpower.  While a timeline is not implied, a succession is. An argument based on conditionalities – ifs, buts, maybes and could bes – is one that is lost already. The proposition is definitive: India will be

Nor can the side opposing the proposition vacillate in their position: India is not first among equals competing for this pole position and
will definitely not be the next super power. The relative strengths of competing nations are not relevant in this argument.

The debate is not over whether India will someday be a superpower. The operative word here is, next: India will be the NEXT superpower.


R Jagannathan

R Jagannathan, Editorial Director of Swarajya magazine, is a veteran journalist who has held senior positions with leading businesses and general print and digital publications.

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Tuhin A Sinha

Tuhin A Sinha is a popular author and columnist and is presently the national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

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Nilakantan RS

Nilakantan RS is an engineer by training and is the Chief Data Scientist for one of India’s largest fintech firms.

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Praveen Chakravarty

Praveen Chakravarty is Chairman of Data Analytics for the Congress party.

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Govindraj Ethiraj

Govindraj Ethiraj has reported and written on Indian business for over 25 years. He is the founder of several reputed public interest journalism ventures that aim to make the internet safer.

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