Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

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Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby shiv » 09 Jan 2016 16:34

Being called a "Great Power" is not a diploma that is conferred either after exams, a research thesis or after payment of a licensing fee. It is a term that is applied to certain entities that exert influence of a large number of nations - or even the whole world.

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.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby A_Gupta » 09 Jan 2016 17:37

Who wants to be a great power in the first place?

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby shiv » 09 Jan 2016 18:10

I think a lot of Indians believe that India should take its "rightful place" among the great powers of the world and GoI keeps knocking on various doors to ask for "support" to expand the US security council.

One of the reasons why I think India is not easily admitted into Great Power circles is because those "great powers" can see from a distance that India is not behaving like them. None of the "great powers" are charming countries that desire peace all the time. They are countries that support or fight wars all the time. Arms manufacture and exports form a large part of their economies and they certainly dominate the top ten heavily armed nations. India actually does what is expected of the weakest and smallest states - that is talk of peace, harmony, friendship and Gandhi and spirituality and worst of all secularism. Every half assed great power has a history of fighting like a rabid dog for some half-assed ideology or the other.

India is unique, But uniqueness does not represent the qualities of bullying and rowdyism expected from all "Great Powers"

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby A_Gupta » 09 Jan 2016 18:48

It goes like this - today China can block the UN Security Council from imposing sanctions because of JeM or LeT; India has no counter to it. Or international trade rules are made that require India to reduce its food subsidies, while not addressing the order-of-magnitude bigger subsidies in Europe and the US. Or NPT, CTBT are pushed which are essentially discriminatory treaties. India needs the levers to be able to push back against all of this. That is the current purpose of power.

I'm not saying that it will remain this way forever. The current purpose of power is to give India the international environment in which she can grow economically at >8% per year for a generation, which provides the means to ensure (if the political will is there) that no Indian need live in poverty, malnutrition and squalor, lacking in healthcare or education. It has been 70 years since Independence and the task of wiping the tears from all eyes is so very far from complete. But now people believe it is both possible and plausible. So now is the time.

If along the way, the Indian people add to their goals, that will be another matter.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby shiv » 09 Jan 2016 19:45

Arun, I don't disagree. But as I see it, India's (and the Indian) view of the world is completely different from the way the world is seen by the so called great powers. India does not behave like those powers because their behaviour is not seen as righteous by India. India's idea of the world is totally different.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby Pulikeshi » 09 Jan 2016 19:45

With due respect - since I care for your posts - take my sarcasm for whatever it is worth:

A_Gupta wrote:Who wants to be a great power in the first place?


Yes, not Indians!
Everyone I talked to wants to be a Vishwamanava (no one has explained to me whatever this means!)

A_Gupta wrote:If along the way, the Indian people add to their goals, that will be another matter.


Yes, children must be raised with good manners and ability to follow others - Uthishta Maculayputras!
someday they can add 'leadership,' 'power,' 'identity' to their skill set, but why start there?
why does one need social sciences when we are great gumasta and koolies in science and math?

</sarc always ON>

PS: Having started a India Super Power thread in BRF history, the lessons I learnt are immense...
Neither the Indian nation-state, nor the underlying SD civilization is ever going to be ready for it... not at this rate!

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby SwamyG » 09 Jan 2016 20:04

Wasn't Rama expansionist by sending the Asvamedha Horse? Peace was after wars.

Isn't there a difference between Raja yam and Rashtra as well?

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby A_Gupta » 09 Jan 2016 20:09

Well, a great power wins 40 or so medals at every Olympics :)

PS: this thread can only be humorous, because it is a "monkey see, monkey do" kind of thread. There exists "great power" status - of the kind that e.g., almost caused annihilation of itself in World Wars I & II, and then the Cold War; but since it exists, India has to want it. If they don't want it, they are some kind of koolies, Macaulay-putras, and such. Polite Babus. Why India should want it - "because it exists". "Because India's manhood won't match that of the Islamic Lands or of the Dragon Land or of Europe or of USA...". etc., etc., etc.

Moreover, it is cargo cult. Wanting all the trappings of power with none of the capabilities, focus and discipline and hard work needed to actually have that power.

Can we even have a simple goal - let BRF be the world's leading forum for its purpose (whatever that may be)? No? then is the goal to be a great power without any effort at excellence?

Oh, it is an SDRE thing to think that power and excellence are tied together. I get it :) As I said, this thread can only be humorous (sarcasm included for free).

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby TSJones » 09 Jan 2016 20:32

great power status is a preoccupation with India and China, not the US or present day Europe.

there is a huge underlying, overlooked streak in the US that wants nothing to do with great power status. it's sick and tired of the global everybody is "American waiting-to-happen" BS that is constantly shoved down our throats. it's getting ugly and it's represented by Trump and Cruz who are running for president.

the fact is, the globalists of any nationality, see nothing but personal profit in globalism and political influence pedaling.

India wants to be a great power but they want whatever trade they can get with ToT. The Chinese don't worry about such niceities, they simply steal it.

I'm not sure exactly why India does not want to take the time to develop their own tech and thus, undeniably become a great power on their own, such as their newly developed space program. I can only surmise, that India feels its poverty of its masses compels them to seek ToT.

I just can't see any pride in the Chinese system that only inspires the US corporations to greater security measures in their computer systems. One thing is certain, the US is not inspired by Chinese tech ingenuity but suspicious security concerns. So much for true great power status.

to recap, a true great power can strike fear in your heart with game changing, shape shifting, out of the box thinking, black swan systems. whut evah they may be. US nationalists are not happy with it either. A lot of us have been made superfluous by it other than as mechanics, clerks and infantry in the US military. end of story.

I welcome comments.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby A_Gupta » 09 Jan 2016 20:48

TSJones, a country that works well for its people, will have power, whether it seeks it or not. A large country that works well for its people will have a lot of power - it will be a "great power". Once it has power, if it seeks to hold on to power while neglecting how well it works for its people, it will decline. (This is arguably what is happening to the US of A). Seeking power for its own sake, e.g., the Soviet Union, will lead to decline.

India is not preoccupied with becoming a great power as such - India is preoccupied with becoming prosperous. The perpetual Hindu-Muslim fights, so dear to Indian hearts, has been put aside to become prosperous - that should give you an idea of the seriousness of intent.

Prosperity in a country of the size of India will lead to great power; but that is a welcome side-effect, and not the primary goal.

There certainly are neighborhood concerns, the management of which will be easier if India had better instruments of power. E.g., even prior to prosperity, seeking greater military and diplomatic power and exercising it to get Pakistan to end its campaign of a thousand cuts is perfectly reasonable; and is not inconsistent with the Indian goal of becoming prosperous. Likewise, even prior to prosperity, having sufficient muscle to deter any Chinese adventurism is perfectly reasonable.

Everything else is "monkey see, monkey do" armchair exercises.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby SwamyG » 09 Jan 2016 20:58

What is power?

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby A_Gupta » 09 Jan 2016 21:05

Let us turn to something useful, something solvable in the near-term, provided the political will is there.
Link x-posted from the STFUP thread:
http://www.business-standard.com/articl ... 252_1.html

C.C. Fair:
Pakistan has called PM Modi’s bluff. Despite all the rhetoric, there is a consensus within the Indian security establishment – at least among those who draw their conclusions from data instead of speaking from nationalist sentiment – that India lacks the offensive capability to defeat Pakistan in a short war. That is important because there will only be a short war between India and Pakistan, due to the presence of nuclear weapons on both sides, if the former responds to such a provocation. Essentially, Pakistan has called the Indian government’s bluff.


बड़े सुपर-पावर बनने को चले!

Now, C.C. Fair's statement can be disputed. But admit that if India had been operating just with normal competence for the past decade, there would be absolutely no room for doubts about India's military offensive capabilities.

Now, you were saying something about "great power"?

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby A_Gupta » 09 Jan 2016 21:19

Further,
How can India build an effective deterrence against this form of sub-conventional warfare?

I do not see too many options that India has. It has not made the investments it needs to ensure deterrence against such acts by way of offensive superiority on its international border. India’s current conventional posture on the international border is of defensive competence instead of offensive superiority.

Defence modernisation for such deterrence requires reconfiguring your current military assets, which are bulky and easily detectable, into smaller units that can be forward-deployed much more rapidly without the intelligence footprint that Pakistan can easily detect.

It is about personnel policies. India does not need a huge standing army for such purposes as much as it needs special operators to conduct hot-pursuit missions into Pakistani territory without detection. Currently, India does not have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) or “jointness” among the different branches of its armed forces for seamless interoperability. Pakistan does not suffer from these shortcomings; it has “jointness” and it essentially has a CDS in the form of its army chief. Most disturbingly, Pakistan’s position has been significantly bolstered by American military largesse.

Lastly, but most importantly, there needs to be the political will to use these assets as and when required.

This is not a bad time to be an Indian. Successive governments have come to understand that if you remain focused on not having a large confrontation with Pakistan, India’s economy will continue to grow. But, you can have this attitude only if you are willing to suffer several casualties in attacks from Pakistan every year.


None of the above has anything to do with "great power" status, being Macaulay-putra, having not/having "leadership" in the skill-set, being or not being science and technology koolies or lacking independent, India-centric study of humanities. This is simply about "what does it take to get Pakistan to back off?" But without solving the above, people want a short-cut to "great power status".

PS: Again, I reiterate, that C.C. Fair's statements are disputable. But why should there even be a modicum of doubt about India's capabilities? It doesn't take "great power" to get all of the above right.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby ramana » 09 Jan 2016 22:27

Shiv, India will be a great power regardless of who runs it. However who runs it determines the when.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby ldev » 09 Jan 2016 23:42

Very interesting topic. A few random/rambling thoughts in no particular order:

I was reading somewhere that two fundamental parameters of development are:

The ability of a country to organize itself.

and

The efficiency with which a country can project force to kill it's enemies.

Organizational efficiency will include everything from political administration to law and order to economic policies to education, health care etc i.e. the ability to rationally allocate resources to ensure the maximum bang for the buck. IMO it also includes the ability to harness the human resource capability of it's people to the maximum. Besides health, education and skills, it will also include communication e.g. If Mr. Modi, a great orator is giving a rousing speech in Hindi, 90% of its impact will be lost if it has to be translated. Also if the citizens have faith in the abilities of the police and the judicial system, they will not riot and take the law into their own hands. It must include the ability to change administration, economic policies, military doctrines in light of changing circumstances.

The ability of a country to kill it's enemies is military efficiency and will include the entire gamut from the right force mixture to local production to military tactics and doctrine. Because that ensures that the country can get by force what is needed for it's sustenance and further development.

I believe that countries that have become great powers including the empires of the past and present had a certain percentage of their population which believed in something bigger than themselves. I do not know what percentage of population it is that is the threshold level, maybe it varies from great power/empire to great power/empire and maybe it also varies from what point in history one is talking about. But that is when that ascent into great power status happens. After it has been achieved, maybe the committed population goes below that threshold, but now momentum is already on the side of that country i.e. think USA today.

Also, when that ascent begins and at least for the duration of the ascent, that country will do things i.e. on the economic/political/military domain which will be the best in the world e.g. whatever one might say about misallocation of financial resources, China has in less than 1 generation built a world class physical infrastructure. Tomorrow even if the financial system collapses, there will be real physical assets on which a functioning economic society can exist. Similarly when the US began it's ascent at the turn of the last century, it excelled and was the best in the world at a variety of disciplines that propelled it to the very top and allowed it to cement it's current position.

Talking about human resources and skills - after all great societies are built on the basis of their human capital - the great empires whether the Roman empire in history or the US empire today, have avenues for anybody to aspire to join them i.e there is no exclusion of individuals or groups. Anybody could become a Roman and thereby a part of the Roman empire. Today, anybody can become an American. Hence these empires have been able to attract the best/brightest in terms of human capital to help grow their empires. An important lesson for India. Do not exclude people from aspiring to become Indian.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby SSundar » 09 Jan 2016 23:46

1. India already has large swathes of land and lots of people within. "Control" of this land is a subjective opinion skewed by some bad governments. India has enough police and military forces under her control to exert full control over the land and people. Individual governments have lacked the determination to exert this.

2. India has enough soft power to influence the rest of the world - yoga, traditional medicine, ancient science, culture, cuisine (including all the health benefits associated with the traditional ingredients in Indian cooking), chanakya, et al. The first step is to resurrect all this and make our own population take pride in these and put them into practice. Next step is to take it to the rest of the world. Schools of thought that suppress our Indianness (namely, Macaulay, communism, nehruvian socialism, etc. must be exterminated with extreme prejudice).

3. The capability to stand up to any military threat exists. The political determination does not. Again, it is an individual failure. Not a national culture.

4. Remember IPKF, Maldives operation, etc. where the country was able to stick it to weaker countries. The Prime Minister that took those bold steps was "taken care of" and was succeeded by pacifist, old and tired, and often compromised figures for 30 years. This falls into the category of individual failure.

5. Controlling resources to its own advantage has begun under this government, starting with coal. We need to institutionalize and expand this.

6. Guilty as charged. India stands too much for equality and equity in the global community. This is an artifact of the non-Indian schools of thought. They need to be eradicated with extreme prejudice.

7. Expanding and exertion of influence has certainly begun. It just requires a strong leader... something we have lacked for at least 30 years.

8. Sorry, we don't do this. We're Indians. :oops:

To me, there are two root causes (and only those two) that are holding India back:

A. Strong influence of non-Indian schools of thought that promote a slavish compliance among Indians.
B. Failure to resurrect (and often burying) all great accomplishments of ancient India.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby Pulikeshi » 10 Jan 2016 00:33

TSJones wrote:great power status is a preoccupation with India and China, not the US or present day Europe.

there is a huge underlying, overlooked streak in the US that wants nothing to do with great power status. it's sick and tired of the global everybody is "American waiting-to-happen" BS that is constantly shoved down our throats. it's getting ugly and it's represented by Trump and Cruz who are running for president.


US is a great power, hence the concern is with stability, not acquisition of... India and China are upstarts...
The US media shoves a bunch of bs everyday, all it can sell really, but what has that got to do with great power?
In any democrazy, people get the leaders they deserve, not the ones they wish to elect!

TSJones wrote:US nationalists are not happy with it either. A lot of us have been made superfluous by it other than as mechanics, clerks and infantry in the US military. end of story.


When did nationalism or for that matter anything get to interfere in the great power politics?
Intellectually, the very idea of nation-state itself is an outmoded concept, but then reality is hyper realist!

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby Pulikeshi » 10 Jan 2016 01:02

A_Gupta wrote:A country that works well for its people, will have power, whether it seeks it or not. A large country that works well for its people will have a lot of power - it will be a "great power". Once it has power, if it seeks to hold on to power while neglecting how well it works for its people, it will decline. (This is arguably what is happening to the US of A). Seeking power for its own sake, e.g., the Soviet Union, will lead to decline.


This is a very naive approach to great power... even if there is a kernel of truth to what you say...
Your reading of the US and its current predicament is quite inaccurate, but that is for a different thread maybe...
For now, there is no decline but rather a plateau, there may be a decline that could come next, but it is not yet.

A_Gupta wrote:India is not preoccupied with becoming a great power as such - India is preoccupied with becoming prosperous. The perpetual Hindu-Muslim fights, so dear to Indian hearts, has been put aside to become prosperous - that should give you an idea of the seriousness of intent.

Prosperity in a country of the size of India will lead to great power; but that is a welcome side-effect, and not the primary goal.


Hindu psyche, maybe curing itself of the 'dhimmi complex' it had developed, but to assume that India is preoccupied with just becoming economically prosperous is again a misreading of the situation. GST never found its way to make a point! India is in my opinion a reluctant 'great power' it is wanting to avoid the path the other 'great powers' took, but in doing so it is inefficiently taking some steps forward and several steps backward, its geographic location and human capital perhaps allows it the luxury, but the window to outpace the forces that tie it down will be open only for a decade or so....

The question - Will India move from "Transforming the condition of its citizens" to "Transforming the neighborhood" to "Transforming the world?"

A_Gupta wrote:There certainly are neighborhood concerns, the management of which will be easier if India had better instruments of power. E.g., even prior to prosperity, seeking greater military and diplomatic power and exercising it to get Pakistan to end its campaign of a thousand cuts is perfectly reasonable; and is not inconsistent with the Indian goal of becoming prosperous. Likewise, even prior to prosperity, having sufficient muscle to deter any Chinese adventurism is perfectly reasonable.


Pukestan is a separate topic - again another prolific threads on BRF may suffice -
India, the nation-state, had/has decided that Pukestan as a buffer state is in the best interest of India.
This is the reason, Pukestan was allowed to get nuclear weapons, as it is in the interest of India -
needs long counter intuitive discussion on strategy, if this is not obvious. Also the reason, Pathankot will be forgotten.

Until India's position changes, expect no real military or otherwise response from India towards Pukestan.
Ironically, this is one great power calculation that India has done well on, the only place where this may fail
is if the Indian public lose their patience with their own governments inaction, not recognizing the strategy at play.
But the Indian public want the petrol & onion price down -
who cares if a few soldiers, civilians, etc need to be fed to Bhakasur called Pukestan every year!

A_Gupta wrote:Everything else is "monkey see, monkey do" armchair exercises.


As long as you are wearing pants sitting on an armchair - you are already part of the 'cargo cult' like it or not!

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby Pulikeshi » 10 Jan 2016 01:03

ramana wrote:Shiv, India will be a great power regardless of who runs it. However who runs it determines the when.


If we let Pakistan run it, it would be a great power tomorrow no? :mrgreen:

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby ShauryaT » 10 Jan 2016 07:10

SwamyG wrote:What is power?
Good question. We belong to a nation, where her Prime Minister, in an attempt to assuage the west declared after her first nuclear test, that India does not want power. At the some time, some real-politicos who understood too darn well the practice of power, were scratching their balls thinking, what the f*** is wrong with this country. We unshackled that notion only in 1998 but only in fits and starts for the entrenched view of 60 years still dominates! It will take time for India to answer this question but the first thing that will have to go is this maculayputragiri that persists in all of us.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby ramana » 10 Jan 2016 07:21

P in a foul mood I could ban you for trolling no?

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby shiv » 10 Jan 2016 10:00

ramana wrote:Shiv, India will be a great power regardless of who runs it. However who runs it determines the when.

ramana India's idea of what "Great Power" constitutes is different from what the existing great powers actually do. I am veering around to the view that Great Power is a misleading term designed to create a mental picture different from reality like "Religion of Peace" and "There is only one God and he will save you (only if you follow me)"

Actually people define great power as the ability to be a bully and show dadagiri, but then create a ranking system for great powers based on demographic parameters like GDP, maternal/infant mortality, malnutrition, human development, liberal speech, "free press" etc.

What this ranking system does is to automatically place the US and Europe on top because dadagiri is a common factor - but wealth and freedoms have already been achieved a century ago using that dadagiri. So now when an upstart country displays the same dadagiri/bullying that the great powers used to do, the human development parameters are displayed to point out why the new upstart dadagiri showing nation cannot really be great because of poverty, shitting in open, being against gays etc.

In other words the signal is "In order to be really great you must be like us. But we ain't gonna let you get anywhere close because we will retain military power over everyone else by alliances and restrictive regimes" The rest of the world react to this in various ways and there is definitely an element of "monkey-see monkey-do/cargo cult" here because people buy into this ranking system. China has bashed its way in by size and military clout, but is constantly badgered about its lack of freedoms.

Some nations react by opposing the political system of the "great powers" but they try and mimic the dadagiri. Pakistan, Iran and Noko are examples of this. India is totally unique in embracing the freedoms and political system but rejecting the dadagiri as an essential part. The Ravana/Rama differences in attitude are like the differences between current great powers and India. India is looking for a degree of idealism and dharma if you like in interstate relations in ways that are not followed by a lot of "great powers" and not so great powers as well for that matter.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby aditya » 10 Jan 2016 10:02

India has no dearth of elements that meet the criteria 1-8 in shiv's opening post, when applied at a national level.
However, the same coercive tendencies and hunger for power observed at a national level are somehow transposed into wanting to be an international gubboy.

How and why?

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby ShauryaT » 10 Jan 2016 10:15

Shiv ji: Interesting point. While the "hard" requirements of power are common, the other indices of power is an area where a visionary India can define its own parameters, rather than get suckered into the indices and frameworks of the west.

What these indices are is something that can be defined, once we shed our inhibitions. E,g: Will we redefine and balance the role and value of economics with obligations. I know of no other nation, that embraces plurality the way the Indic civilization does. Will we seek this freedom of the spiritual framework and all that it entails, like done in the years past, when the principles of Dharma spread all over Asia. Will we seek to balance the world of individual rights - a current mantra of the west with a world of duties to others. We have important thins to offer. Not sure what was on your mind, but agree that the soft matrices of great power can and should wear Indian colors.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby shiv » 10 Jan 2016 11:25

ShauryaT wrote:Shiv ji: Interesting point. While the "hard" requirements of power are common, the other indices of power is an area where a visionary India can define its own parameters, rather than get suckered into the indices and frameworks of the west.

What these indices are is something that can be defined, once we shed our inhibitions. E,g: Will we redefine and balance the role and value of economics with obligations. I know of no other nation, that embraces plurality the way the Indic civilization does. Will we seek this freedom of the spiritual framework and all that it entails, like done in the years past, when the principles of Dharma spread all over Asia. Will we seek to balance the world of individual rights - a current mantra of the west with a world of duties to others. We have important thins to offer. Not sure what was on your mind, but agree that the soft matrices of great power can and should wear Indian colors.

I think Arun Gupta hit an important note by bringing up the subject of cargo-cult behaviour.

When Indians believe that great powers are defined by a particular set of parameters defined by someone else it becomes difficult to include areas of influence that are important to us. One problem is that dadagiri and coercion can create dhimmis who will convince themselves that the despot who dictates is "great" and this applies to nations as much as individuals. The ability to tear another nation down is associated with being a great power, but is it any better than an ability to bully? Alliances of bullies can work in tandem to create powerful groups - but an ability to bully really should not be associated with greatness. Having said that, these are all the words of a man who thinks like a 90 pound weakling rather than the 800 pound Gorilla, but even the language of power and greatness is infused with the same stereotypes.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby member_29247 » 10 Jan 2016 12:52

First thing first

We need to define contextual scope of Greatness.

In my understanding greatness and power are never bestowed or delegated

In that sense US was agreed power till 2000 Bush Regime.

While the Second World War showed how great the US was for leading a a just war
In spite of its mechanations .

The restoration of Europe and the meddling in Iran and other countries showed vestigial imperils tic traits
While coating such ambitions as anti communist and pro democracy inclinations.being a true capitalistic in its out look the Us always tried to preserve its monopoly in may sectors.
It's complete imperialists ambitions were suppressed after Phillipine campaigns and the illegal annexation of Independant Hawaii
The decline as a great power started with now peace loving caerter recruiting Relious radicals to lure and combat, avenge Vietnam defeat against USSR in Afghanistan as the downward spiral,of a great power and the complete decent of a descent benevolent democracy( even to its citizens ) came about with 9-11
I had cautioned that the 9-11 just did not fell the twin towers but it destroyed the institutions in fell,swoop. The ultimate low was abrogation of Heabes Corpus the illegal wire trappings of citizens employing contract soldiers with now accountability, making free press tow the Goverment speak with embedded ( a very apt description of reality) press corps is visible symptoms of a declining great power.

Great power does not abrogate its core principles no matter what the grave provocation from out side or with in crops up.

In that sense the great power status of US is on the wane.
But TINA is working into favor to handg on. The small mutiny lead by democratic presidential,candidate is Flickr of hope in the name Berne Sanders
Just my humble opinion.

US is still the role model,for good and bad that many nations and humans still look up to .

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby BRao » 10 Jan 2016 13:00

shiv wrote:I think a lot of Indians believe that India should take its "rightful place" among the great powers of the world and GoI keeps knocking on various doors to ask for "support" to expand the US security council.

One of the reasons why I think India is not easily admitted into Great Power circles is because those "great powers" can see from a distance that India is not behaving like them. None of the "great powers" are charming countries that desire peace all the time. They are countries that support or fight wars all the time. Arms manufacture and exports form a large part of their economies and they certainly dominate the top ten heavily armed nations. India actually does what is expected of the weakest and smallest states - that is talk of peace, harmony, friendship and Gandhi and spirituality and worst of all secularism. Every half assed great power has a history of fighting like a rabid dog for some half-assed ideology or the other.

India is unique, But uniqueness does not represent the qualities of bullying and rowdyism expected from all "Great Powers"


That 'rightful place' that Indians dream of is India being in the UNSC, a developed country with good infrastructure & little poverty and a great powerful military to show off on Jan 26 & a Bollywood that's global. That's it. Indians just want the goody goody side of being a great power, all the glamorous things. But do they have the stomach to really become a great power? Do we have the stomach to take on 100,000 bodybags in a decade to go & fight around the world to protect Indian interests or to fight anti-Indian forces in their homes? Do we have the stomach to use non-actors & terrorist organizations for our objectives? Do we have the stomach to inflict massive punishment to populations of anti-Indian countries?

What a joke.

Hindus will even puke at the sight of dead gutted Pakis and hold candle marches at the Wagah at the first opportunity.

The reason for this fall is aptly summed up Sridhar ji -


To me, there are two root causes (and only those two) that are holding India back:

A. Strong influence of non-Indian schools of thought that promote a slavish compliance among Indians.
B. Failure to resurrect (and often burying) all great accomplishments of ancient India.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby Pulikeshi » 10 Jan 2016 14:54

ramana wrote:P in a foul mood I could ban you for trolling no?


R, you could or let me tone down my causticity... but my point remains that we cannot have 'anyone' run India.
A Mughal sultanate or a Caliphate or an EJ state could result in India being a 'great power' but I suspect many
here on BRF do not have the stomach for such an outcome. Perhaps rightly so!

There is a great deal of confusion on this thread - India was a great power since Mauryan times if not earlier...
That the term 'great power' is an European coinage, has nothing to do with the concept itself. This is no cargo-cult!
As some of you on BRF are well aware - the Indian nation-state is different from the underlying SD civilization.

My two paisa for free is that the Indian nation-state cannot succeed by adopting the SD values only or rejecting the Western examples!
Just as the SD civilization cannot continue to be Sanathana allowing the modern Indian nation-state to be its preserver and protector.
Nation-states and civilizations have different cyclic rates and when in alignment they produce 'great powers'

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby shiv » 10 Jan 2016 17:02

BRao wrote:
That 'rightful place' that Indians dream of is India being in the UNSC, a developed country with good infrastructure & little poverty and a great powerful military to show off on Jan 26 & a Bollywood that's global. That's it. Indians just want the goody goody side of being a great power, all the glamorous things.

:lol:

Well put. These are the aspects that India wants without the hard and ruthless ideological side.

However there is another side that Indians would like to be included as great power characteristics. These include statements (with pride) that India never invaded any other country and that India has always welcomed religious and other refugees from elsewhere - prominent among them being Jews and Parsees; and India being the birthplace of at least 4 religions - all of which still survive

These are definitely truiy and unique to India but these characteristics find no place in the definitionof great power. That makes me somewhat cynical of that definition. Power yes. Great? That's debatable. Not that a non great power can resist a great one, but debates are allowed,

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby member_29089 » 10 Jan 2016 17:26

"Great Power" is a generic term and is a vector sum of several component powers (e.g. military power, economic power, dharmic power, dairy power, agro power, etc). But it seems that here the "great power" means military power. If USA is considered a "Great Power" even then one can see her limits. (For example it could not intimidate even Cuba). Hypothetically if India were to reach a status of a USA-like "Great Power" it still will have difficulty dealing with impoverished, stone-aged but nuclear-armed Porkiland.

I think if India wants to be reckoned as a "Great Power", it first and foremost must deal with ToiletStan by either nuking it to stone-age or occupying it ruthlessly (at great human cost if need be) and converting those MOFOs back to Hinduism.

All else is - as they say - academic.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby Pulikeshi » 10 Jan 2016 17:54

shiv wrote:
BRao wrote:
That 'rightful place' that Indians dream of is India being in the UNSC, a developed country with good infrastructure & little poverty and a great powerful military to show off on Jan 26 & a Bollywood that's global. That's it. Indians just want the goody goody side of being a great power, all the glamorous things.


However there is another side that Indians would like to be included as great power characteristics. These include statements (with pride) that India never invaded any other country and that India has always welcomed religious and other refugees from elsewhere - prominent among them being Jews and Parsees; and India being the birthplace of at least 4 religions - all of which still survive

These are definitely truiy and unique to India but these characteristics find no place in the definitionof great power. That makes me somewhat cynical of that definition. Power yes. Great? That's debatable. Not that a non great power can resist a great one, but debates are allowed,


The intuitions that are presented above are correct. Most Indians strategists have never ever fired a gun!
Leave alone fight wars - this dominance of civilians and as SS's quote earlier on education - non-Indian schools
and failure to develop a social science based on Indian identity - viewing with skepticism all achievements
Indian and ancient really sums up the primary malady.

Just to clarify - "great power" is an European coinage.

Honest reality is that India (civilization not nation-state) has invaded militarily as well as culturally outside India -
in SouthEast Asia and if someone does more study in West Asia (Middle-East for the unlettered).
Indian sub-continent exists in a pivotal part of Eurasia - it is pivot between the West and the East.

When viewed in this light, it becomes evident that India, her subcontinent, is critical to the control of all of Eurasia.
This is the reason, powers that were indigenous to India and other invaders who came to India were enticed into 'great power' status.
India's experience has been that such pursuit of 'great power' status has been detrimental to the citizens.
This explains the reluctance to achieve any such status and this sentiment is very much appreciable and understandable.

No power on Earth will remain a 'great power' without control over the Indian Ocean - This is my dictum.
A sub-text to that dictum is that no power will remain a 'great power' without control of the Indian Sub-Continent.

Pivot to Asia - etc - is all really junk! The US - China condominium continues. The real objective is control
of the Indian ocean region and the Indian sub-continent itself. Be it the Mughals, English or now the Americans -
the game for control of this region of the world has been a constant. The great game is really details...
This means at the very least - India for the sake of her citizens has to remain a power - great or not.
If only at the very minimum to prevent others from interfering and impacting the interests of her citizens.

Someone said Cuba and the US experience there... No power picks wars with its neighbors without end goals.
Picking distant wars are many times easier than and more profitable than picking wars with neighbors.
In the case of Pakistan - there has been a misread that it is a 'normal' nation-state and hence and be managed.
The reality is much of the Indian procrastination to 'great power' is making India pay a greater cost to achieve the inevitable end goal.
Therefore imvho - that understanding that Pukestan is a buffer state has to come to an end.
The Indian nation-state may not be ready for this reality, but it is indeed coming to fore given detrimental
impact the lack of control over the neighborhood is having on the security and prosperity of India.
Some people will disagree with my assessment and argumentation is welcome.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby A_Gupta » 10 Jan 2016 18:43

Basically what ramana said several posts ago. To put it a different way, a well-governed India will be a "great power". But, IMO, the European literature of the era of their colonial empires gives "great power" the connotation of a nation that determines the fate of the people of other nations, essentially by coercion. That need not be "great power" behavior.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby Pulikeshi » 10 Jan 2016 18:57

A_Gupta wrote:To put it a different way, a well-governed India will be a "great power". But, IMO, the European literature of the era of their colonial empires gives "great power" the connotation of a nation that determines the fate of the people of other nations, essentially by coercion. That need not be "great power" behavior.


NO, A well governed India can be a gumasta nation like Japan innit? Akbar by many accounts ran a well run empire innit?
Is'nt that the plan anyway?

Even in friendship there is coercion - as someone wiser than me once said...
power comes only to those who seek it and wield it with humility.

When I was much younger I dreaded the impact of the choices I made, today it seems foolish.
We impact others by our very existence, suffering responsibility is part of the game, every leader knows it well.
Everyone who has sent men to die can attest to this in a more visceral way... even a janitor has coercive capabilities!

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby shiv » 10 Jan 2016 19:01

A_Gupta wrote:Basically what ramana said several posts ago. To put it a different way, a well-governed India will be a "great power". But, IMO, the European literature of the era of their colonial empires gives "great power" the connotation of a nation that determines the fate of the people of other nations, essentially by coercion. That need not be "great power" behavior.

But copycat/monkey see monkey do behaviour among some states - and let me single out Pakistan here gives the impression that great power status is acquired by coercion and teaming up with other great powers to coerce someone else.

On this note - let me repeat a hunch I had posted on occasion in the past. The word "ally" as seen by European powers is a nation that will send men to fight a war for an ally. The word ally seems to have grown out of European monarchical alliances - often by marriage leading to one European power fighting for another because they were family (at least for the monarch). Hence as an ally Pakistan fights for the US and is disappointed that the US did not fight for Pakistan. The US fights for allies like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Britain fights for the US as an ally. Australia is in there somewhere.

The whole concept of "non alignment" is an anathema to alliances made by "powers" great or not, and while Indians nowadays are the first to mock India's non aligned movement, the fact is India's behaviour is decidedly non aligned when it comes to putting troops on the ground for other countries wars

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby member_29247 » 10 Jan 2016 23:39

In a great power nation, the traffic lights and road rules are observed even when there is no one is around even in mid night. It could be the fear that a cop is lurking behind a building or the simple fact it is the law.

Such a state is great power even if it is observed 80% of the time.

On this simple count alone India has mile to go before it sleeps as a great power , and it may never happen in the current trajectory.

30 years ago I wondered about this while attending UM for masters degree I winter night walking along from department to my apartment

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby BRao » 11 Jan 2016 00:29

Spinster wrote:In a great power nation, the traffic lights and road rules are observed even when there is no one is around even in mid night. It could be the fear that a cop is lurking behind a building or the simple fact it is the law.

Such a state is great power even if it is observed 80% of the time.

On this simple count alone India has mile to go before it sleeps as a great power , and it may never happen in the current trajectory.

30 years ago I wondered about this while attending UM for masters degree I winter night walking along from department to my apartment


I disagree. I believe it is more to do with how they deal with external parties than how they respect internal laws. A great power for me is a civilization that uses its nation state instruments to expand, even at great costs paid in blood. For India, that would have meant a large (50% or more) Hindu population willing to do whatever is necessary to reoccupy Pakistan and Bangladesh and convert all Muslims & Christians back to indic fold, after having suffered what we have for far too long. That way, Israel is a great power even though it is a tiny state.

Sad reality is that Indians/Hindus will never have this will.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby Pulikeshi » 11 Jan 2016 00:31

Spinster wrote:In a great power nation, the traffic lights and road rules are observed even when there is no one is around even in mid night.


True only if having perfect lipid profile (cholesterol, etc.) makes one Angelina Jolie!
(to use Shiv's fav actress!) :mrgreen:

Flipside - there was a 20 odd vehicle two lanes waiting for a broken signal patiently for 8 mins or more :-)
It was interesting to see two desi vehicles flee the scene and use an alternate route... the others still waited!
The blind reliance on the system is as mind numbingly dumb as the blind rejection of it...

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby KrishnaK » 11 Jan 2016 01:00

TSJones wrote:great power status is a preoccupation with India and China, not the US or present day Europe.

there is a huge underlying, overlooked streak in the US that wants nothing to do with great power status. it's sick and tired of the global everybody is "American waiting-to-happen" BS that is constantly shoved down our throats. it's getting ugly and it's represented by Trump and Cruz who are running for president.

the fact is, the globalists of any nationality, see nothing but personal profit in globalism and political influence pedaling.

India wants to be a great power but they want whatever trade they can get with ToT. The Chinese don't worry about such niceities, they simply steal it.

I'm not sure exactly why India does not want to take the time to develop their own tech and thus, undeniably become a great power on their own, such as their newly developed space program. I can only surmise, that India feels its poverty of its masses compels them to seek ToT.

I just can't see any pride in the Chinese system that only inspires the US corporations to greater security measures in their computer systems. One thing is certain, the US is not inspired by Chinese tech ingenuity but suspicious security concerns. So much for true great power status.

to recap, a true great power can strike fear in your heart with game changing, shape shifting, out of the box thinking, black swan systems. whut evah they may be. US nationalists are not happy with it either. A lot of us have been made superfluous by it other than as mechanics, clerks and infantry in the US military. end of story.

I welcome comments.
The US is preoccupied with maintaining its own capability to influence outcomes around the world. Why wouldn't it be ? A japanese camera, Korean CPU, US touch screen gets assembled in China before it makes it to my hand and my money goes into Apple's coffers. Who is willing to give that up ? US economic interest is tied with the rest of the world. Until an alternative for the net security that US provides comes up, the US will stay put and globalist narratives will win out. No amount of disgruntled workers is going to change that.

As far as India, our current CEA has made some observations about India being a precocious democracy and its results on us being a precocious economy. A majority of our population was living off agriculture. That meant india subsidized before building out infrastructure. A poor landless laborer cares only about his subsidy, not technology. A very poor GDP to tax ratio meant that the government couldn't make enough revenues and tolerated institutionalized corruption. This affects the capacity of the state to do something well, not to mention its credibility. All of this is changing. As India becomes wealthier it'll go through all the same transformation that other countries have gone through. As its economic interests gets increasingly intertwined with the rest of the world, globalist narratives similar to the ones in the US will prop up. It is inevitable. I believe India's achieved the hardest part first - political stability. The rest is a matter of time.

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby member_29247 » 11 Jan 2016 01:09

Pulikeshimsaab taking a legal,detour is smart but driving on side walk aka foot path only shows scant respect for law.

The point is law breaking thought should come at at great risk ( taking behavior because of the certainty of law catching up).

If and when law is respected obeyed for internal or external reasons it's a great nation.

Let's take this example

When a person is sworn in as PM president or heck even a lowly law enforcement officer, it is implicit that they follow the rules and execute the laws of the nation. failing to do so would have consequences in open ( even is KSA or Singapore the flogging is open to deter and to show that magnitude of punitive measures)

When no action is taken or accountability is forced in any public activity it is sham nation, ballot box stuffing is not a democracy even if it happens at 30 percent rate...

Simply put Dharma is enforced in true great power, that's the basic difference between wanna be and real power.

If dharma is not followed , then you have pseudo democracy and pseudo power just like Psikular forces.

Another concrete example is the no plan or action on the part of GOI to recent attacks.

Is this the first time attack on India by terrorist from a very specific country? No

Did we plan and learn from previous attacks ? Form ground reality it is resounding no?

Did we ever try to take punitive action against those who violated the laws of a peace extending nation? Resounding No?

are we ill equipped to handle these kind of events? A resounding yes?

Is there a accountability of any one even a moral gesture of home minister or defense minister taking responsibility. no

So what attributes can we claim to. Have towards great power? I don't know.

The only greatness of India is its Indian people, who have infinite patience and Tolerence to still respect people like Mrs Aamir Khan who said she would like to move out of country.

On this count India is unique and great tolerant society when the laws ar flaunted, money is made by breaking the law, invite terrorists with open arms and recruit them into Police.

Yes these traits no nation can claim except us not US

So India is great power in its own right and needs no example or advice..

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Re: Great Power Status - aspiration versus reality

Postby TSJones » 11 Jan 2016 01:21

KrishnaK wrote:
TSJones wrote:great power status is a preoccupation with India and China, not the US or present day Europe.

there is a huge underlying, overlooked streak in the US that wants nothing to do with great power status. it's sick and tired of the global everybody is "American waiting-to-happen" BS that is constantly shoved down our throats. it's getting ugly and it's represented by Trump and Cruz who are running for president.

the fact is, the globalists of any nationality, see nothing but personal profit in globalism and political influence pedaling.

India wants to be a great power but they want whatever trade they can get with ToT. The Chinese don't worry about such niceities, they simply steal it.

I'm not sure exactly why India does not want to take the time to develop their own tech and thus, undeniably become a great power on their own, such as their newly developed space program. I can only surmise, that India feels its poverty of its masses compels them to seek ToT.

I just can't see any pride in the Chinese system that only inspires the US corporations to greater security measures in their computer systems. One thing is certain, the US is not inspired by Chinese tech ingenuity but suspicious security concerns. So much for true great power status.

to recap, a true great power can strike fear in your heart with game changing, shape shifting, out of the box thinking, black swan systems. whut evah they may be. US nationalists are not happy with it either. A lot of us have been made superfluous by it other than as mechanics, clerks and infantry in the US military. end of story.

I welcome comments.
The US is preoccupied with maintaining its own capability to influence outcomes around the world. Why wouldn't it be ? A japanese camera, Korean CPU, US touch screen gets assembled in China before it makes it to my hand and my money goes into Apple's coffers. Who is willing to give that up ? US economic interest is tied with the rest of the world. Until an alternative for the net security that US provides comes up, the US will stay put and globalist narratives will win out. No amount of disgruntled workers is going to change that.

As far as India, our current CEA has made some observations about India being a precocious democracy and its results on us being a precocious economy. A majority of our population was living off agriculture. That meant india subsidized before building out infrastructure. A poor landless laborer cares only about his subsidy, not technology. A very poor GDP to tax ratio meant that the government couldn't make enough revenues and tolerated institutionalized corruption. This affects the capacity of the state to do something well, not to mention its credibility. All of this is changing. As India becomes wealthier it'll go through all the same transformation that other countries have gone through. As its economic interests gets increasingly intertwined with the rest of the world, globalist narratives similar to the ones in the US will prop up. It is inevitable. I believe India's achieved the hardest part first - political stability. The rest is a matter of time.


The majority of Apple's profits sets overseas un taxed. Great Power indeed. :x


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