WASHINGTON, June 10: With China expected to be headed towards long-term stagnation, it may well be an Indian century if India and the Southeast Asian countries successfully enact pro-market reforms, a group of noted American experts have said.
"China may be heading toward long-term stagnation, but if India and the nations of Southeast Asia successfully enact pro-market reforms, it may well be an 'Indian Century'," said Nicholas Eberstadt, Derek Scissors, Dan Blumenthal and Sadanand Dhume from American Enterprise Institute, a US think-tank, in an essay in Washington Examiner this week.
"Thanks in part to China's slowdown and its unfavorable demographic future, India has a chance to carve out more space for itself in a rapidly changing Asia," the AEI experts wrote.
"A more business-friendly Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has renewed optimism about a country with more than 1 billion people," it added.
Noting that Washington has several reasons to seek a closer relationship with New Delhi, the four AEI experts said both countries bend over backward to deny that their partnership is aimed at China, but it's no secret that they share concerns about Beijing's rising clout and willingness to throw its weight about internationally.
"India is also an oasis of stability in a region roiled by radical Islam. An uptick of violence in Afghanistan, as well as a surge in terrorism and sectarian killings of minority Shiite Muslims in Pakistan, underscore the relative calm of India," they wrote.
As a model for Asia's smaller countries to emulate, India ---democratic and pluralistic, with a large English-speaking middle class -- appeals naturally to Americans.
The thriving, 3 million-strong Indian-American community acts as a bridge between the two countries, they said.