If there is a great state in the world that should not exist, it is India. It is not disrespect, on the contrary: they had everything in their favor to become a failed –and dangerous– State and they are called to be the key player in the struggle between the West and China, where the quarterfinals are at stake.
I am very afraid that we continue to perceive India through outdated and good-natured stereotypes, which can be summed up in the great phrase of the traveler in law: they are poor but happy...
The happy and spiritual India that so seduced the West began to vanish from 1991, when they began to reform an autarkic economy, which could be nice for tourists and hippies –and their pockets–, but which condemned them to underdevelopment.
Unlike its nemesis, the People's Republic of China, India has taken off by being faithful to democratic principles and to elections as a way of dealing with the governance of a palette of ethnicities, languages and specificities. I am not saying that they are the perfect democracy – some massacres prevent it – but never since their independence, in 1947, have they opted for military juntas or covert dictatorships, quite a miracle in Asia, a continent very prone to authoritarianism.
India has been faithful to some wise founding fathers, such as the United States, among which Jawaharlal Nehru stood out, an English-educated aristocrat who, incidentally, was about to enlist in the Barcelona of 1938 in the International Brigades.
Nehru and the Congress Party –51 years in power– established foreign neutrality as a postulate, maintained until today, when Narendra Modi's BJP dominates, an "identity" and Hindu party that made one fear the worst due to its phobia of Muslims , 15% of the population (one of its founders, L.K. Advani, asked me in Delhi, in 1991, to send him a book on... the expulsion of Muslims from Spain).
Forget the India of flowers and violets. It is an economic superpower on the verge of surpassing Germany and a democracy –despite the regression in press freedom– vital to contain China without coming to blows. That's what this 21st century is about.