1     Introduction

‘Emerging’, ‘rising’, ‘surging’, ‘blossoming’ – these are just a few of the epithets that have become commonplace in discussions about contemporary India (Cohen 2001, 2006c, Di Lodovico et al. 2001, Walker 2006). In particular, there has been a preoccupation with the question of whether it will be – to borrow the title of the 2006 Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, an annual gathering of India's political and business elite – ‘The Next Global Superpower?’. At this conference, Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress Party, which led India to its independence from Britain in 1947 and has been a prominent force in Indian politics ever since, said that she approved of the question mark affixed to the title because she was ...

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