[Answered] “As globalisation gives way to Asian century and Asia takes a leading position, India could look to many of the opportunities arising out of the region’s rapid integration and shifting networks to help drive its next chapter of growth.” Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. What are various opportunities for India in realising Asian Century? What should be done to reap benefits from Asian century?
Conclusion. Way forward.

The Asian Century is the projected 21st century dominance of Asian economics, politics and culture. The growing importance and emphasis of unity in Asia, demand progressive relationships among countries in the region to realise the 21st Asian Century. The success of Asian century depends upon how the Asian exploit the opportunities and how they tackle the challenges like environmental issues along with sustainable growth. India need to exploit the opportunities arising out of the region’s to help drive its chapter of growth.

Opportunities for India in realising Asian Century:

  1. Asian century can be realised only with the economic development in Asia, especially in India, which accommodate 2nd largest population of the world. Through adding the Asia focus, India could expect to target four opportunities to help drive its next chapter of growth.
  2. As more advanced Asian countries like China move up the economic development ladder, phasing out manufacturing in favour of a shift to R&D and more knowledge intensive manufacturing, there is room for India to seize the baton and become a larger sourcing base for global supply chains. Just the global sourcing value of mobile handsets is over $500 billion in scale, and India could aspire for a 15-20% share of this footprint.
  3. There are opportunities for India to benefit from the flows of capital and investments powering development as Asia integrates more closely.
  4. A rapidly growing Asia is catapulting its major cities into leading consumption centres, that offers a ripe market opportunity for Indian businesses ranging from IT services, tourism services, generic pharmaceuticals, automotive components, agrochemicals, and so forth.
  5. The fact that India and China are the two big Asian giants, it is imperative for both of them to be allies so as to support each other and continue their bid for the strongest power. Thus India has an opportunity to play an important trade player in the region.
  6. Alongside the movement of goods and capital, flows of people are a vital component of Asia’s integration. While Inter-Asian tourism and talent flows are booming, India can exploit this opportunity for booming its tourism sector. Improving visa processes and creating programmes for talent and academic exchange could help in this regard.
  7. Environmental protection is a potential and important area for long-term cooperation. As the most populous countries, joint efforts between China and India will be crucial to tackle environmental challenges like climate change. In this regard, both the countries are inextricably linked through a shared atmosphere, water resources, and the Himalayan ecology. India can emerge leader in green technologies and can boost its renewable energy exports.

What should be done to reap benefits from Asian century?

  1. To fully realise this opportunity, more needs to be done, particularly in terms of improving infrastructure. Investments are needed to improve the logistical backbone supporting manufacturing, incentives are needed to encourage future investments in R&D, and large-scale innovation hubs need to be developed to move manufacturing to the next phase and help to capture the demand opportunity.
  2. Much greater efforts are required to get better value out of value chains by opening markets, strengthening human capital and technological and innovative capacities.
  3. Discrimination, prejudice and persecution are rife in Asia, thereby preventing economies and societies to realise their full potential. E.g. women in common, India’s lower castes etc need to be provided with equal opportunities, to realise the full potential.
  4. Most Asian countries face demographic dilemmas. Much of the youth is not well educated and there are not enough jobs on offer. A potential demographic dividend could easily morph into an explosion of social frustration. It is important to prevent this.
  5. More needs to be done to realise the potential opportunity of investment flows from other countries. India is undergoing through a phase of demographic dividend. India can provide brain and talent that is important for Asian century. By providing opportunities and employment driven by economic growth is necessary.

The Asian century is well and truly underway. It should also be noted that China continues to have border skirmishes and unbalanced trade negotiations with India. China has been seen with a lot of speculation not just in India, but outside as well and on various fronts. Without Chinese cooperation and change in attitude it is tough to realise progress on bilateral relations. India should push China for better relations and should try to establish trust among among two nations.

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