The term "Great Powers" are the modern nation-state continuity of great empires. Great empires of course were empires under monarchs and the hallmarks that those empires had are pretty much the hallmarks that great powers are recognized by even today.
I mean no insult to my own nation and I must not digress, but in the general view held in the world, Ram Rajya would not qualify as a Great Power because it represents peace justice and happiness for all. That is nothing like what "Great Power" represents, although Indians and Indian governments seem to think it does. All "Great powers" resulted from expansionist kings. In general there is a king with a kingdom. He desires some territory or resource that is outside his domain and under control of another king. He takes it by force and thereby increases his power and influence. Alternatively another type of great power has some resource that other's desire, but is able to hold off all attacks and ensure that the resource they have is given selectively to allies and friends in exchange for some benefit (typically money or other goods).
So, very generally speaking a great power
- 1. Exerts control over a large swathe of land and the people therein
2. Is able to influence people by coercion, threat or friendship over an even larger area of the earth
3. Will not get cowed down by military threats and will jealously protect its domain
4. Will hit out using military coercive power at weaker powers simply to exert dominance - even if there is no direct threat, or if the power is expect to become a threat in future
5. Will control resources for its own advantage
6. In general does not stand for equality and equitable sharing of power or resources
7. Will expand its influence to gain influence or resources - by open or veiled threats and a show of force
8. Will only acknowledge another power as great by ruthlessly competing with it and trying to bring about its downfall, economically or militarily
India barely qualifies on point 1 and mostly fails on all other points, except maybe 5 to some extent
Forget the US, UK, Russia and France. China qualifies on all counts. Germany and Japan belong because they were all that in living memory and can go back to doing that in a trice - they are only held back by treaties and acknowledgement of their status by other powers. Heck even Pakistan displays all those points.
India cannot be a great power without ruthlessly acting like one. No great power became great by removing poverty and building toilets first. The power came from grabbing influence and developing markets by competition and force. Concern for fellow man and equality are a load of rubbish for all the great powers and they will reject all that as soon as it looks like threatening their status and power.
I cringe at the way we send application forms to one and all asking to be acknowledged as a great power. India simply is. It has existed for a long time and exists in contracted form now. I think the entire nation needs to go through a phase of severe disbelief and cognitive dissonance and see ourselves for what we are rather than what we hope others will somehow bestow upon us like a prize.
Please post views and thoughts.