Twelve Indians have found their place in the global magazine Foreign Policy’s ambitious list of the ‘500 most powerful people on the planet’,including Manmohan Singh,Sonia Gandhi,Sheila Dikshit and Baba Ramdev.
Given India’s strategic position in the southeast Asian region and its continuous battle against terror,three have been chosen under the ‘force’ category of the list. They are Defence Minister A K Antony,RAW chief Alok Joshi and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon. As the leader of the government in the highest decision-making post,Manmohan Singh can also be fitted into this category though he has found himself under ‘politics’ making the point clear that he has to give decision-making a boost to lift India out of its present economic stupor.
Also under politics are Congress president Sonia Gandhi,Delhi Chief Minister Sheil Dikshit,Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj and Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu.
Sonia Gandhi is No 3 in The Indian Express’ ‘100 Most Powerful Indians,2013’ and we have to say this about her: ‘Even as she is in the process of handing over the baton to Rahul Gandhi,she continues to play a decisive role in the Congress and the government in her capacity as party president and UPA chairperson.
Her public support for economic reforms,especially for the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail,changed the party’s usually diffident approach to economic reforms. Despite tremendous pressure from party leaders in New Delhi and Ranchi,she stalled all attempts to form a coalition government in Jharkhand.
She will ensure a smooth transition of power to the younger generation in the party while taking a backseat gradually. She will,however,continue to play an active role until the general elections.’
Sheila Dikshit is no 35 on our list because: ‘She looks set to be India’s first woman to bid for leading a state government fourth time in a row. She remains the face of Congress in Delhi due to her knack of fending off detractors. She has managed to stick to the agenda of development and governance,which appeals to the aspirational Delhi voter’.
Though Indian-origin steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal,who spent eight years at the top of the Sunday Times Rich List,has dropped down to fourth position this year,the leading NRI industrialist also finds himself on this list under the ‘money’ category.
The Foreign Policy list,which takes up the challenge of picking one powerful person every 14 million on the planet,is a ‘list of all important lists’ released. The magazine says,’That’s what we tried to do with the inaugural FP Power Map,our inventory of the people who control the commanding heights of the industries that run the world,from politics to high finance,media to energy,warfare to religion. Think of it as a list of all the most important other lists.’
Other Indians on the list are the ‘Bully Pulpit’ Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar,as well as Salil Shetty,the Amnesty International Secretary General — under the category ‘good’.