Advantage India: Why China Will Lose the Contest for Global Influence
It is sometimes said that India’s rise has occurred in spite of the country’s messy democracy. Bitterly fought elections, political gridlock and a turbulent civil society have all been seen as handicaps that India must overcome on its march to global power. By contrast, authoritarian China’s capacity to implement a national vision of development without the give-and-take of an open society has been a formidable strategic asset. One-party rule has enabled China to rise farther and faster than India and remain ahead in the pursuit of wealth and influence.
This narrative is compelling; it may even explain the relative current positions of India and China. But as a predictor of the future, it contains a major oversight. Regime type shapes the course of power transitions and not in a way favorable to China. Mistrust invariably accompanies an autocracy’s rise. China is ascending into a world that is frightened of its intentions and wary of its leadership. Because democratic government functions as a source of reassurance as a new power rises, India encounters few barriers to its ascent. Established powers trust India’s ambitions and expect it to take on a constructive leadership role. However, India will not automatically obtain the influence within its grasp. To become a co-equal partner with the United States and Europe in the management of world affairs, India must first cast off old thinking about its place in the global order.
To read more, click here.