New Delhi: The three new world economic powers of the future are China, the US and India, with the relationship between the Asian giants holding the key to stability in the new world order shaped by the triangular relationship among the three.
In the past, India was viewed as an “irritant" in the international order given its espousal of non-alignment, but now, India is being viewed as strategic because of its economic weight.
These were some of the observations of Jagdish Sheth, the Charles H. Kellstadt Chair in Marketing at the Goizueta Business School of the Atlanta-based Emory University. He was speaking on the “Role of India in the Global Order" at an event in New Delhi.
Several projections, including one by the United States Department for Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA) last year, have projected the Indian economy to reach $6.84 trillion by 2030—making it bigger than that of the economies of Japan and Germany. India’s fast growing young population is perceived to help the country outpace ageing developed nations. Besides this, rising aspirations in the world’s second-most populous country is driving demand for a range of consumer products like mobile phones, electronic goods, cars and houses.
According to Sheth, the new emerging world order will consist of three poles—China, the US and India. “This is the new power play that will shape the European Union on one hand, shape the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and definitely shape Africa," he said.
With the US-China relationship stressed by Beijing overtaking Washington in all areas including military, technology and innovation, it will be the India-China equation that will hold the key in this triangular setting. “The problem is that in a trilateral relationship, you have to have some harmony; otherwise, coalitions will form," Sheth said adding: “So the India-China relationship becomes strategic out of nowhere."
Given that the US-India relationship had warmed considerably, India would be placed in a position of “strategic advantage" or “strategic dilemma" with New Delhi pondering whether it should “align with them positively or not," Sheth said.
India’s importance is underpinned by its economic weight, Sheth said, adding Prime Minister Modi had proved himself a better leader on the world stage in comparison with US President Donald Trump—who was still politically quite “naive"—and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Modi possessed the knack of how to relate to world leaders —from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to former US president Barack Obama to current President Donald Trump to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Sheth said. This was something Trump and Xi were yet to do as good as Modi, he said.