Continuing my India analogy, what companies has India created that count? Please, please, please, do not say Infosys and Wipro. I will have to go out to the parking lot and shoot myself if you do. If the analogy holds, can one be optimistic (as the whole world seems to be) about India?
I can understand that ageing infrastructure can be a liability rather than an asset, but surely that is not the case with regard to technical and scientific knowledge, educational systems, etc? And does not Russia have a significant advantage in that sense? Even in the IT space, where India is enjoying its boom, my own quasi-expert prediction is that the probability of ground-breaking, fundamental or even significant contributions is higher for Russia (from what I see of its hacker(*) and related communities) than India, or China.
Note that I am, in fact, pessimistic about India. Not based on any expertise in economic matters (which I have none of) but from a very naive common sense viewpoint. Without throwing the baby out, I think there are legitimate worries on how far we can take the non-zero sum idea.
(*) please ask if you do not know what the word "hacker" means.