What does it take to be a super power?

 It depends, of course, on what you consider to be the definition of a super power.

If the ability to build nuclear weapons is a criterion for "super-powership", then the US and Russia - with an estimated 10,000 nuclear weapons - are way ahead of the game. For all its forex reserves and Made in China products, China has less than 5% of the nuclear weapons of the US.

Country Suspected Strategic Nuclear Weapons Suspected Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons Suspected Total Nuclear Weapons
China 20 390 410
France 384 80 464
India 0 60+? 60+?
Israel 0 200+? 200+?
Pakistan 15-25? 0 15-25?
Russia ~ 6,000 ~ 4,000 ~10,000
United Kingdom 185 0 185
United States 7,200 ~ 3,300 ~10,500
Source: www.CDI.org

But, yes, based on holdings of US Dollars in its vaults, China has USD 847 billion (as of July, 2010) while Japan holds USD 821 billion and UK comes a distant third with USD 374 billion. Having said that, we are not sure if these statistics tell us who the super-power really is. Is it these countries for owning so much US Dollars, or is it the USA for fooling these countries into owning what could be worthless pieces of paper? Time will tell.

If "super-powership" is ranked based on the number of people in an army (including reserves), then the list would suggest that North Korea with 9.5 million people in its army is the real super power, just a shade ahead of its neighbour South Korea (8.7 million).

Country Size of army, para-military, and reserves
China 3.4 million
India 4.8 million
Brazil 2.1 million
South Korea 8.7 million
North Korea 9.5 million
Russia 21.4 million
USA 2.4 million
Source: wikipedia.org

The Business Standard quotes a US report as ranking India as the third most powerful country in the world after USA and China. If the European Union was to be counted as one bloc, it would take over the third spot and India would be ranked as the 4th most powerful country in the world.
We are not sure what that US report measures as the criteria for its list, but it feels nice to see India in some such list.

Some rich, many poor
India also makes it to the rich lists that tend to be published. After all, we are living in a material world and all that money made because of the legendary friendships between our business houses and politicians has to show up somewhere. Forbes, which is famous for its ranking of people for their wealth - irrespective of how they earned it - has India ranked 5th as home to 49 billionaires when measured in US Dollars, ahead of its once colonial master, the UK with 29 billionaires. And possibly 20 of those 29 must be immigrants from South Asia!

Rank Country Number of billionaires
1  United States 403
2  China 64
3  Russia 62
4  Germany 53
5  India 49
6  United Kingdom 29
7  Turkey 28
8  Hong Kong SAR, China 25
9  Canada 24
10  Japan 22
Source: www.Wikipedia.org, Forbes

And, the least publicised but probably intuitively known list of them all is the one that ranks countries based on their share of global poverty. India has a dominating lead in this list (41% of the world’s poor are in India) with China in a distant, but convincing, second place (22% of the world's poor are in China).

Rank  Countries  Amount 
# 1   India 41.01 % of world's poor 
# 2   China 22.12 % of world's poor 
# 3   Nigeria 8.03 % of world's poor 
# 4   Pakistan 3.86 % of world's poor 
# 5   Bangladesh 3.49 % of world's poor 
= 6   Brazil 1.82 % of world's poor 
= 6   Ethiopia 1.82 % of world's poor 
# 8   Indonesia 1.49 % of world's poor 
# 9   Mexico 1.43 % of world's poor 
# 10   Russia 0.99 % of world's poor
Source : www.nationmaster.com

source: http://www.equitymaster.com/ 

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