Sunday, 31 August 2014

Is 21st Century an Asian Century?

"21st Century is an Asian Century"
                                                         This dictum is doing rounds these days in the global geopolitical scenario. As the popular precept says "The Sun Never Sets in East"!!!  is somewhat sounding to be true.

 Well, I had a strong belief that this century is not apparently witnessing an emergence of Asia. Instead, it’s the re-emergence of ASIA. There used to be a time approximately two centuries ago, when INDIA & CHINA proved its mettle in the world trade and drew the attraction of Western powers at such distant lands. In the name of strengthening civilizational ties, the Westerners crossed trans-Atlantic regions to reach trans-Pacific and exploit the rich resources here. That time, Asia accounted for about 60% of total global output with both China & India leading the race. The 19th century is reckoned to be as the British century and during the 20th century, it was the Americans. After two centuries of economic decline, the world’s two great economic powerhouses are now once again becoming the engines of growth to the world economy.

It is also remarkable to observe that no other topic has received as much coverage as the question of Asian Century. This is all due to the rapid rise of Asia which has seen a major power shift in the International System shaking the “hegemon”. Asia is the world’s populous region and with a strong demographic dividend, it has become the centre for geopolitics and geo-economics.
India is pooling its resources from all major niches such as –

DEFENCE –
To prove its military might, it is emphasizing on developing indigenous arms and ammunitions. It has even allowed 49% FDI in defence which can give a boost to the sector.

INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY –
The diplomacy had taken an entirely new dimension with quick response at any crisis situation. It is leveraging its ties with its neighbors using LOOK EAST POLICY. The nation is being heard in all the crucial matters at the global stage in international forums. Also, India is trying real hard to change the power dynamics in UNSC by having itself as one of the permanent members in the Council.

TECHNOLOGY –
Under the guidance of some of the ablest minds, India is capable of developing and has already developed state-of-the-art machinery and equipment and missiles. One of the finest examples of this indigenous production is that of the AGNI V ICBM missile.

Thus, the world saw Asia’s resilience during the USA’s global financial shock of 2008 followed by a hit in major European economies (PIIGS crisis). These ‘superpowers’ were unable to handle the growth and economic mismanagement which led these countries in such a messy situation. Whereas, China & India, predominantly agricultural economies improved their GDP ratios because they initiated a planned and sustainable development. The “FACTORY ASIA” has made India as the leader in services export and China as the manufacturing hub.

Thus, a strong ASIA built on sustainable growth has the propensity to support greater levels of trade and bring prosperity to the region. Conversely, a weaker ASIA can pose a host of challenges on itself as well as for West’s future growth. Therefore, it is prudent to embrace globalization and regional cooperation to bring success to Asia. With improved governance, an “ASIAN CENTURY” is indeed plausible.

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