India at Crossroads on Path to Superpower Status

Poverty is still rampant in India and chaos remains a defining characteristic. But the country is a global leader in high tech, has become the world’s leading weapons importer and is planning a mission to Mars. On the way to superpower status, India must first overcome deep-seated corruption and internal division. It’s the most expensive private dwelling in the world, but it isn’t in Los Angeles, London, Dubai. It’s in Mumbai, just a few stone’s throws from one of world’s biggest slums. The property is called “Antillia,” named after a mythical island in the Atlantic that the persecuted developed into a refuge. The new home of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani is a steel-and-glass collection of superlatives thought to be worth $1 billion (€800 million). The 27-story structure has three helipads on its roof, 9 elevators, a movie theater and crystal chandeliers in multiple rooms, from the ballroom to the parking garages. There are 168 parking spaces in the six lower floors for the luxury cars of Ambani, 55, who is also known as “Mister Big”. He is the chairman and CEO of Reliance Industries, a conglomerate with holdings in oil fields, solar-panel manufacturers, pharmaceutical firms and textile companies. Ambani, one of the 20 richest men in the world, once gave his wife, Nita, an Airbus A319 jetliner for her birthday, not a gold-plated model, but real thing, with, of course, a somewhat more upscale interior than usual. Ambani’s Mumbai residence provides roughly 37.000 square meters (394,000 square feet) of living space for its six residents: Ambani and his wife, their 3 children and his mother. In the Dharavi slum, a 30-minute drive to the north, an estimated 12.000 people live in about same amount of space, often without running water, toilets, electricity. In fact, more than 60% of Mumbai’s 18 million residents still live in slums. But aside from a little grumbling in the local press (the Indian Express described the house as “obscene”), there is little evidence of outrage. The poorest of poor would seem to view Ambani’s Villa Megalomania with indifference, while it is even a source of pride for some members of the Indian middle class, who apparently see it as evidence of the India’s growing importance in the world. “Palace of Versailles is a poor cousin by comparison,” writes columnist Shobaa De, brimming with national pride. There is no doubt that India feels that it has arrived. Some of its politicians and business leaders believe it has reached a status as a third superpower, alongside United States and China. On August 15, India celebrated the 65th anniversary of its independence from British rule with elaborate parades. Prime Minister Singh, 79, promised: “No power in the world can stop our country from achieving new heights of progress and development”. Reasons for growing pride are not hard to find. Based on purchasing power parity, the economy is the world’s third-largest. High-tech centers, such as Bangalore and Hyderabad, have given rise to IT companies like Infosys and Wipro, which are among international elite in their industry and are now bringing back computer experts who once left Indian for California to chase higher salaries (…..)

Link: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/india-caught-between-superpower-dreams-and-harsh-realities-a-851247.html

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

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