"An increasing numbers of Indian people are seeing their own country as a future leading global power. In many other parts of the world, people also expect India to be a global player among the big powers in a few years", the survey by Berlin- based Bertelsmann Stiftung says. The international opinion poll by the German Foundation was carried out in September, 2007, among 9,000 people in the world's leading countries.
In response to a question, 'Which countries do you see as being global powers, today and in the future?,' 38 per cent of Indians already currently rank their own nation in this category.
The US was mentioned by 79 per cent of Indian people as a world power, China by 33 per cent, Great Britain by 33 per cent and Russia by 29 per cent.
This estimation, however, changes in relation to the year 2020.
By then, 72 per cent of the Indian people polled saw their own country as being in a prominent position or a world super power.
In the other countries polled there was a widespread belief that the status of the United States was dwindling. "It has lost a considerable amount of kudos", it said.
In most of the countries polled, people expect their own country to increase in influence, be it China, Russia or Brazil.
However, the positive self-evaluation in comparison to the estimation of potential competitors is more pronounced in India than in any other country.
This self-evaluation was not shared to the same extent by those people polled in other countries. Only 29 per cent expect that India will play a leading role by the year 2020. India ranks in only the sixth position, behind the USA, China, Russia, the European Union and Japan.
A rapid change has been identified in the last few years in the perception of global threats and challenges.
In comparison to 2005, awareness about environmental problems has increased intensely globally by over 10 percentage points, whereas no significant change has taken place with regard to international terrorism.
The proportion of those who perceive climate change and environmental damage as a global threat increased in all countries polled, particularly strongly in the US (+22 percentage points), China (+17 percentage points) and in Japan (+16 percentage points).
On an average, globally 54 per cent of all people consider damage to the environment as the most critical threat.
In contrast this awareness has not developed as intensely in India. Here only a minority of 28 per cent consider the destruction of the environment and climate change as a global threat.
For 75 per cent of the Indian population international terrorism is by far the greatest danger. A high 65 per cent of Indians mention poverty and over population as threats above all others.
As many as 47 per cent feel that religious conflict and fundamentalism as big challenges.
Fear of conflicts, entailing religion in particular, has increased by 18 percentage points in India in the past two years.
Summarising the study, Mr Josef Janning, Head of International Relations at the Bertelsmann Stiftung, noted, ''People's future expectations holds enormous sway over policy making. All over the world, people see the US losing its dominant position and China gaining ground. However, they do not expect the kind of harmonious, balanced world order that could be expected from a global government run by the United Nations.'' Instead, in almost every country, people plan to rely on their own strengths in global competition and want their own countries to play larger roles in spreading peace and stability.
The representative survey was conducted in the US, Russia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Germany, France and the UK.
As a benchmark, the findings were compared with a prior Bertelsmann Stiftung poll from 2005.
The Bertelsmann Stiftung is a non-profit German foundation. As a think tank and political consulting institution, it is "committed to developing innovative, humane solutions for the challenges faced by a globalized world." One of its main areas of its expertise is international relations.