Not a Chinese Century, An Indo-American One
China’s three decades of explosive growth and increasing influence on the global stage have often led to talk of the country dominating the 21st century. But Daniel Twining, an Asia specialist at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, argues that democratic values and strategic interests shared by India and the US could upend this expectation as the two countries pull closer together.
The strategic alienation of India from the United States was one of the great anomalies of the Cold War. The rapprochement of the world’s biggest democracies from 2000 to the present is one of the key dividends of the new world order that emerged after the end of US-Soviet rivalry and the dawning of the modern era of globalization. India, which will soon have the world’s third-largest economy and its largest population, is increasingly central to the future of the global order; the US National Intelligence Council has called it the decisive “swing state” in the international system.1 India’s posture is thus central to the long-term position of the US and other democracies.
Yet India was once marginalized from the world order. From independence in 1947 through the end of the Cold War, structural constraints imposed by the US-Soviet global rivalry, India’s pursuit of non-alignment and internal development and security challenges made it difficult for a desperately poor country with an economy growing at only 1-2 percent annually to play a wider international role. India is only now making an impact on world politics after effectively sitting on (or being relegated to) the sidelines. India’s awakening could change the world as profoundly as has the rise of China, and for the better.
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