Calling it “The Decade That Was India’s”, a leading US daily says India’s ability to make the success of the last 10 years the norm across regions and industries, “could well pave the way for an Indian century.”

“Nobody knew what would happen when 1999 ended. Would computer systems crash and paralyse machines, power lines, lights, life as we know it?” the Wall Street Journal said recalling how the world turned to India to take on the dreaded Y2K bug.

“This was the decade that defined India - and India defined. Think back to the mid-1990s, as software services entrepreneurs assure me, and Americans didn’t know India at all,” the leading US financial daily said. “Ten years later, the world is in panic mode again - and some economists think India will come to the rescue yet again.”

“This time, it’s from the evolution of that nascent outsourcing model into the engine of a robust global player that can do more than serve US companies; Indians can buy their products, too,” the Journal said noting, “The bookends of this decade are significant for India and its place in the new economic order.”

“The backlash against outsourcing remains a very real threat, intensifying amid 10 percent unemployment in the US,” it said. “But outsourcing - and the idea that companies must operate cheaply, efficiently, globally - has come to be an accepted, inescapable reality.”

A majority of Americans believe the US is in decline, the daily said citing a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll from earlier this month. “A plurality went as far as to say the US will be surpassed by China in 20 years as the world’s top power.”

“India can hardly be far behind, given its population projected to exceed China and its democratic form of government,” the Journal said noting, “That would have been unthinkable in 1999.”

“But congratulations for India must be fleeting. It is too easy to look backward to see how far it has come. It is hardly fruitful to look forward to a time that it might surpass China or the US as a superpower,” the daily said.

“What will distinguish India in the decade that begins Friday is its ability to now look inward, to clean its government, to uplift more of its population, to foster the businesses and innovations ... and make their success of the last 10 years the norm across regions and industries,” the daily said.

“That might just clinch more than the next decade - it could well pave the way for an Indian century,” the Journal said.

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